Mark Allen's Top Ten Things
for June 30th, 2003
Copyright 2003 Mark Allen

1.  Registering myself as a sex offender to get my "edge" back - aahhh! Freedom at last!!!
    Want to chase away those homogenized gay pride/rights blues? "Will and Grace" got you down? The recent landmark Supreme Court decision to lift the sodomy ban in Texas seem exciting, and then weirdly disappointing to you? Well stop moping around, frowny-pants! Just register yourself as an official sex offender in your local neighborhood and let the hate begin  ...again!
    Beat the system!
    I mean... jeeze... bring a book, what fun is legal anyway? Anonymous flyer-posting by children-saving, middle-aged suburbanites with Christ complexes, and pipe bombs in your mailbox by KKK members are "off the record" forms of recognition, but once you've established your moral status as an outlaw pedophile in the "hood"... you're bound to have "Die of AIDS baby fucker!" spray painted on the front of your house or car in no time! Nothing says "Carpe Diem!" like bricks being thrown through your window and vicious beatings with a pillow sack full of doorknobs in your driveway as you get out of your car alone at night! Feeling like a ghost in the machine? Let anonymous threats "Get out of town!" and "I will kill you!" left on your answering machine at home chase those blues away!
    Why let those prudes at GLAAD ruin all your fun?  Soon you'll earn the respect a sex offender deserves. The same respect a sodomite in Texas used to get every day (thanks a lot Stonewall!) That is the same respect given to someone who circles playgrounds in a black van with no back windows and a garbage bag filled with candy ...in any state! Hatred and fear are forms of respect... never forget that. By officially registering yourself as a sex offender in your community, and reclaiming your "outsider" status... you can end up on a list like this one! Hey, why struggle your whole life in New York to get mentioned on Page Six? If you move to the suburbs as an official sex offender... you'll be the instant talk of the town!  And the notoriety is ten-fold!
    Just think! There'll be posters with your face on them all over town! On telephone poles... on supermarket bulletin boards! And you won't be just famous... but notorious! Wanna make a dramatic entrance at the next little league soccer game? Like being the center of attention at bake sales? Here's your chance... insta-fame!
    And did someone say "sexy?" Well what part of the word "sexy" do the guys pictured on this list don't understand? Down tiger!  Well that "scary" magnetism... that's a little something called "edge" - something you'll have by the trash can-full when you register as a hated perv in your suburban paradise. Do you think Quentin Crisp got his legendary status on wacky clothes and witty quips alone? N-o-o-o-o!!! He needed notoriety! Who would notice Quentin Crisp NOW? In a world full of  "don't-ask-don't-tell" gays in the military, and "Heather Has Two Mommies" books!?! That's right: NO-BODY!!!
    FUCK YOU Supreme Court!!!
    Let's see... where do I begin to get the ball rolling?
    According to "Megan's Law" in New York State, I have to report myself to The New York Division of Criminal Justice Services if I have been on parole or sentenced to probation or imprisoned (local jail, or state prison) for a sex offense, and do it within 10 days of being released to the community or change of address. The first thing they'll want from me are any aliases I might have used, date of birth (nice try bitch!), sex, race, height, weight, eye color, drivers license number, photograph, fingerprints, description of offense, date of conviction, sentence imposed, internet accounts and internet screen names, other pertinent information.
    There are three "levels" of risk factor. For low risk (Level 1) to moderate risk (Level 2) offenders: I must register annually for 10 years; for high-risk (Level 3) offenders: I must register every 90 days for life.
    The New York DCJS has discretion for notification to any "entities with vulnerable populations" concerning offenders at risk levels 2 and 3. The State provides public access, regardless of risk level, through a 900 telephone line $.50 per call for up to 5 searches and monthly publishes a subdirectory of Level 3 (high risk) offenders that is distributed to local law enforcement agencies, available to the public in those local law enforcement agency offices and is also available on the Division of Criminal Justice website. The 900-phone line and the published subdirectory both operate within constraints of the temporary restraining order.
    I contacted the NY-DCJS to see if they allowed for "hearsay and rumor" in place of an actual arrest or conviction and the nice lady said "no". Damn.
    Okay... it looks like I might have to actually commit a sex crime first to even be eligible for the list... I can't just "out" myself as eligable. But maybe if I can get enough rumors going I'll face some kind of conviction for a real sex crime... or a trial at least.  It's nearly impossible to implicate yourself with rumor by yourself, in order to conduct a witch hunt properly, you need others.
    Please help me (and you!) re-gain my... no us, special niche in society. Prevent us all from being swallowed up by the void. Help us stand out in the crowd. Register as a sex offender in your neighborhood today... and get your dignity back. We can do it if we stick together... and help each other. Then finally we'll be free of this special interest group-imposed government-sanctioned boredom. Something... ANYTHING to save me from this horrid normalicy!
 
 


2.  Am I the only one who finds industrial areas of cities oddly calming and centering?
   I wanna have picnics in them. They're great! For me, being at 0001 Industrial Road Way on a breezy Sunday afternoon when most of the warehouses are closed, is like being at the beach for most people. I love strolling through barren, trash-blowing streets filled with storage facilities and factories with signs on them that say things like "Whip's Bubble Wrap, Inc." and "Harry/Kalzman Plastics and Party Rental Headquarters" and "Stork's Seafood Warehouse" and "Friedman Prosthetics".
    The buildings are always so big that they take up whole blocks. The structures will have just one large door opening - where maybe a bunch of friendly guys with muscle belts and cigars will be loading up an 18-wheeler with giant rolls of paper... or a fleet of identical ice cream vans will be parked while the Polish drivers gather around and talk... or a lone black security woman in an oversized uniform and top-sided hat and fluorescent vest will glare at you blankly as you ride under a flickering overhead street lamp and your bike tires crunch junebugs. Maybe you'll pass a building with roaring sounds inside that has an ominous little pipe on one wall of the outside with steaming, toxic purple/black goo oozing out of it and down the sidewalk and then into a nearby drain - and then you'll look up at the company's sign and it will say "Danny's Baby Supplies". Or you will alternately pass areas that smell like rancid garbage and then delicious freshly baked doughnuts. Then there's the obligatory set of gravel-y railroad tracks that disappear into a thicket of overgrown trees screaming with crickets and cicadas. Being in places like this is a real trip, and the day and night have their own peculiar energies.
    Upon recent conversation, I've discovered myself more and more as the minority... in fact maybe possibly "patient zero" of the type who enjoys desolate, barren, concrete-ridden industrial centers of large urban areas. I don't know what it is about them that I find so alluring and magnetic. I think it may have something to do with all the drunken, sunny Summer afternoons I spend wandering around a then-barren Deep Ellum in Dallas with friends - as a kid in the 1980's (the area is now mostly developed). But more specifically I think it has to do with a weird duality that kind of combines people being around you... but hidden behind massive walls so you feel you have privacy. Does that make sense? It's like being alone in a beautiful meadow and in Times Square simultaneously. You hear workers inside many of the buildings... but don't see them. I have literally gotten on my bike and rode to areas such as this just to relax.
    Industrial areas with the odd playground or school or church or row of apartments... or even trees... don't cut it. It has to be all warehouses and factories... with very little to no greenery. This means that if you find an industrial area you like... find the "heart" of it - avoid the parameters where the rest of the city starts to mix with the surroundings.
    The soundtrack to an area like this? I recommend the movie soundtrack to "Eraserhead", or Cluster's "II", or perhaps Brian Eno's "Ambient #4: On Land". But the best soundtrack is simply your ears... as the distant, echo-y sounds you will hear naturally hear in such areas are what inspired this kind of music.
    There is a great area like this in Brooklyn. It's near Meserole Street - right here. I first became aware of this area after a friend I used to know lived in one of the buildings down there. I go there all the time... just to hang. If I take a friend... they start to get depressed - so I've learned to go alone. I take a cup of coffee and sit on my bike on one of the corners and just chill. I went there this last Sunday... here are some photos I took  (a few are of surrounding industrial areas): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14.
 
 


3. I recommend: Manuel Pradal's film "Marie Baie des Anges" (1998)
    For admirer's of Truffaut's "The 400 Blows", Godard's "Breathless", Terrence Malick's "Badlands" or Larry Clark's "Kids" or "Bully" - I highly recommend an imperfect, yet beautiful and often highly intense (and occasionally transcendent) French film that hits some of the same synapses that the previously mentioned films do. Manuel Pradel's sunset-lit, violence/lust/love-packed "Marie Baie des Anges" is a knock out film. The story of oozing, bubbling, brutal nature captured through the light-speed and rebellious drama of troubled youths in the south of France (the trashy/glorious Bay of Angels resort town to be exact) hits it's emotional target almost every time... using unique visuals, cinematography, minimal dialogue... and an amazingly adept cast of young, unknown actors (many of whom were discovered on the streets or in Russian gypsy caravans by the director).
    The sexily spider/frog-like Frédéric Malgras (above) plays Orso, a homeless, stolen gun-toting, bumbling rapist and petty thief with apocalyptic dreams. The then 14-year old non-actor was discovered by Pradal living with Russian gypsies in the woods north of Paris - in a caravan with no electricity or water.
    Over 1,500 girls were looked at before Pradal discovered 13-year-old Vahina Giocante (above) on a beach in Marseilles, who plays the cat-like, bullshit-less and maliciously flirtatious Marie. Many other French street kids were cast in the film (some with criminal records).
    In the film, Marie finds herself repulsed/drawn-to Orso after some American Marines she is nearly assaulted by in the bay chase and catch him for trying to steal their wallets (he escapes their Americana wraith by pretending to be nuts - which impresses Marie to no end).
    After several more rocky run-ins, (and after Marie wears out her welcome at the local Marine base when they discover she's just teasing them to entertain herself) the two steal a fishing boat and embark on an apocalyptic honeymoon that eventually leads them to a deserted island in the bay (above) where they play-act romance with objects found in an abandoned house and eat food and liquor stolen by Oslo from a local market. When Marie gives Orso a gun she took from one of the sailor's cars... the two barrel down a one-way crime spree, which they begin by childishly shooting at birds (here is a clip of that scene courtesy the film's official website).
    There is a particular scene on this island with Marie and Orso running around at night with a hand-made flaming torch, and a bottle of (flammable) booze, in a frenzy... grabbing the torch back and forth from each other and taking swigs of the alcohol and covering themselves in it and alternately making out, running around in the darkness... unable to see where they are going... the mad rush of excitement and bloodlust in their eyes. The scene is amazing... done with a hand held camera which circles them constantly and stays in close range... even the viewers cannot see where they are going. Using only the light of the torch - it uses sound amazingly (every time the torch whizzes past the camera it overloads the microphone). It's an amazing moment captured on film - one of the most spontaneous and exhilarating I've ever seen.
    Another great scene is when Marie's first boyfriend picks her up on his scooter with Orso in tow. Marie has already met Orso after a caustic confrontation on a ledge, and the incident with the Sailors chasing him. Marie recognizes him and only gives him glaring looks... she sits between them as they ride along and Orso and Marie physical express their love/hate for each other... for the first time... wordlessly... with Marie's boyfriend driving in front of them, clueless (which also excites Marie on to no end). Here is a clip of that scene.
    Pradal's direction is stylish, naked and brazen... spitting and fluttering like a fuse... alternating between bombastic, reckless pulse and quiet, contemplative drone... hitting it's mood mark 9 out of 10 times. The soundtrack is also particularly eerie. The story is often direction-less but it doesn't matter. The visuals and cinema verite-isms pack an inarguable emotional punch. The strong settings (almost all outdoor here), spine-chilling natural lighting (mostly bright sun through trees and orange sunsets on young, bruised faces) and clever editing and cinematography match Jean-Jacques Beineix's best work - yet more frantic and less precise. This under-the-radar picture perfectly captures the maddening Summer romance you had (or wish you did) when you were 15. The characters seem like exactly like what they are; desperate, homeless (for the most part), violent and bored street-smart kids who prey on tourists and American Marines on the bay... and don't seem to fear fate. Marie and Orso in particular become fascinated by each other's personas as doom-ridden and sexy outcasts. It's arguable that Pradal might not have had created such a powerful film if he had not found such innately talented unknowns to carry it ('Marie...' was Frédéric Malgras' first and, so far, last film... Vahina Giocante has gone on to star in other films).
    If you hate fractured story lines, gorgeous underage youths and face-punching, colorful visuals then avoid this picture. If you like great film experiences that inspire you towards reckless romance and the re-visiting of the frenzy of youth... then by all means check it out (unfortunately not available on DVD yet, only VHS).
    Official "Marie Baie des Anges" website.
 
 

4.  Short but fascinating op-ed piece in the NYT about the darker side of a search engine/Wi-Fi global internet future
    "Is Google God?" by Thomas L. Friedman (you may have to register w/NYT online to view)
 
 
 



5. "Jerri, you should hear some of the things they say about your face behind your back!" - Orlando
    Cue Johnny Cash's "The First Time I Saw Your Face" or Black Sabbath's "I'm Going Through Changes". I guess these cam grabs are due to some deep seated identity problem that will never be resolved. Oh well.
 
 
 
 


6. The "Windshield Killer" makes me contemplate my own driving drunk experiences... and makes me long for Texas - so what's your story?
   It's a gamble, and all about not getting caught. And memories...
   Chante Mallard got caught... really caught. Actually she got caught about three years ago and has been awaiting a trial... a trial that last week and found Mallard guilty of murder and tampering with of evidence. She's going to have lots of time for memories.
    In case you're not familiar with her case: Mallard drove home from a Forth Worth, Texas nightclub late one October 2001 night while under the influence of alcohol, pot and ecstasy. She struck one Gregory Biggs (a 37 year old semi-homeless man with a history of mental problems) with her car. Biggs hit her windshield and promptly went through it... halfway... and stayed there like that. Mallard completely freaked out, stopped the car, and tried to smash the windshield some more to dis-lodge a squirming and moaning Biggs from her car. When this proved unsuccessful... she got back into the car and drove home with him still lodged in the windshield. According to Mallard's own testimony... she sobbed and apologized to Biggs profusely... all while driving... whom she said moaned and pleaded to her for help while she was steering and sobbing. Could you imagine the awkwardness in that conversation?
    According to blood pattern samples, Biggs (who by all accounts was in excruciating pain and bleeding to death) also tried to open the passenger door from the inside with his left hand several times. Mallard then drove her car, with an alive and badly injured Biggs still lodged in place, into her garage... got out... shut the door... closed the garage door... and went inside her home where she promptly freaked out some more. Inside the garage... a horizontally impaled Biggs died somewhere between one and two hours after entering the garage (according to medical experts... he most likely would have lived if he had received immediate medical attention - cause of death: bleeding). Mallard then called a boyfriend six hours later... who promptly freaked out... then came over and helped dislodge Biggs' body from the windshield. Mallard and the boyfriend then took the body to a nearby park where they dumped it near some bushes. They then went back home and cleaned up the car as best they could... and also dismantled the front passenger seat of the car and burned it in Mallard's back yard. Biggs' body was found at first light... and chalked up to a random hit-and-run. A year after the incident... a tipsy Mallard started talking about her secret crime at a party... and an eavesdropping partygoer promptly called the cops. Mallard was arrested the next day.
    Can I just take a moment right here to say how soooooo Texas this whole sordid event is?
    Now don't get me wrong... when I say it's all about "not getting caught" I don't mean murder... or even driving under the influence, per say. The first one is inexcusable and the second one is very bad indeed. I mean not getting caught while performing mental high-wire acts with your own moral code. Like: driving home when you've just a bit too much to drink and deciding that you can probably make it because you live pretty close and you really have no other way of getting home and besides since you are very a little drunk and very conscious about it and a little apprehensive about it too... then you are going to be extra, extra, super-extra careful behind the wheel and therefore you are actually going to be a safer driver than if you were sober! See? It all makes perfect sense! Sound familiar?
    Anyone who lives in an urban area who has never driven home a little tipsy (either drooling, screaming profanity, walking sideways drunk... or just almost drunk) when they KNEW it was illegal and KNEW there was a slight chance of plowing into the back of a car stopped at a stoplight and killing a little old lady and has used the above rationale to justify doing it anyway is a LIAR. A LIAR!!! If you have done this only once... maybe twice at the most in your life then you are normal. If you do it every weekend, then you really are a moron and are playing Russian roulette and it's only a matter of time before you'll end up like Mallard (who got 125 years to life in prison or something like that). Everybody has done it once... but very few talk about it. Thanks to groups like MADD and MARAADD, there has been a real stigma attached to driving while under the influence.
    I remember my driving-while-drunk-hoping-to-God-not-to-get-caught experience. I was living in Dallas, and had been at the State Bar with some friends in Exposition Park. I knew I was pretty tipsy from the several martinis I had guzzled  and almost-all-of-a-joint I had smoked with my friend Mosquito - so stoned and drunk - no REALLY DRUNK ... like stumbling and mumbling DRUNKEN - even WINO DRUNK if you will - and due to circumstances, I found myself leaving alone with no one I knew to drive me home. I decided to just go for it. "So whddayadon'tdoovehoooomealoonedink?" I said to myself, with a can-do attitude and a drooling smile. "Icndoooooooit... whaaazabiggiedeeeeal!?"
    After all... all I had to do was get on this itty bitty deserted road outside the State Bar parking lot (which is deserted at that hour and is on the outskirts of downtown), stop at one light (which would be deserted at that hour and blinking yellow anyway) and then enter this on-ramp and take this raised overpass onto the Dallas Tollway - which is like a 12-lane highway with super-high concrete walls on each side and a Godzilla-sized median in the middle - all crossing roads are overhead so if you wiped out into a ball of drunken flame while driving down it at 3am your chances of hitting anyone were practically nil. Then once I got off the tollway after about 20 miles of totally straight line road... I had to throw four quarters in the exit booth change thing at my exit... go through ONE MORE  light (which would be blinking yellow anyway)... turn right... and follow a 1/4 mile, 8-lane road to another light (blinking yellow) - turn left at that one and then onto a residential street and into the alley and into the garage. I mean... basically all I had to do was start the car and then make it all the way home WITHOUT having to stop... which was very doable... since there were no red lights of any kind. And since it was all on-ramps and high-walled tollways... I mean... it was just like getting on a roller coaster and enjoying the ride...
    I KNEW that since I was drunk... and highly aware that I could indeed hit a schoolbus of children and kill them all... that in actuality I would be SO cautious and SO careful that I would end up being a ten-times-as-cautious driver than if I was sober! Sound familiar?
    Since it took me about a half hour of saying all this out loud in the empty parking lot to myself... you know just to rationalize it all and sort it all out - it was now almost 4am. I realized too that I was a lot drunker than I thought I was. So I beat the system... I drove drunk! And I'm not the kind of pussy who lies about it either!
    Here's the boring true story: I got in my car... shut the door... started the car... released the brake... tried to focus on what was in front of me... hit the gas (slowly)... went forward... realized the headlights weren't on... turned them on... realized I had a little double vision... started to imagine that all drunk people are actually traveling in slow motion and hey if I got drunk enough could I actually LIVE LONGER wow that's so brilliant I wonder... opps okay almost hit a stop sigh... focus Mark remember to focus... you're out of the gravel-y parking lot... okay the light is coming up... oh hey should I turn the tape player on?... no... too distracting... okay creep through the light... everything's cool... cool as a pickled cucumber... mmmhmmmm... I'm gonna be just f-i-i-i-i-n-n-n-e... okay here comes the on-ramp... getting on...
    Then once I hit the on ramp and passed on the overpass (glowing downtown Dallas immediately to my left - levitating slowly past me like that giant spaceship from 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind)... the deliciously, sweet warm Texas Summer air started whipping through the spaceship windo... opps, I mean CAR... the CAR windows... this was helping me to sober up.
    Needless to say... with the wind blowing and all I made it home no problem... just as planned. The fact that the streets I was on were DESERTED (I probably saw four or five other cars). I made it all the way home and into the garage without so much as a scratch or bump or homeless man through my windshield. I then promptly went inside... upstairs... and puked in the toilet. Oh did I mention I was living with my parents at the time (my last semester of college before I moved to NYC) and was in THEIR car? Thanks mom and dad!
    I miss Texas.
    So you see? Drinking and driving can be okay! Really! Remember that next time you're debating whether to risk it all and drive home drunk or blow 20 bucks on a stupid, slow cab. It's a gamble... you may win or you may loose. That's the reality of the situation. People risk driving drunk all the time... they just never talk about it.
    Send me YOUR driving drunk story and I'll post it here. All stories will be kept anonymous.
 

Preston writes:

Driving drunk.....In Texas, yet.  After all, Lyndon Johnson loved to take reporters on beery rides around the Johnson Ranch, scaring the shit out of them!!!

 I found myself driving a lot one-toke-over-the-line through Dallas and Fort Worth late at night...  The last time I did it did not turn out so well....  In summer 82, working on the Nuclear project making big bucks, living in a cheep trailer with this rock drummer kid I knew from back east,  I liked to have drinks after work at the local tavern in nearby Granbury, a bedroom community around a lake, with a historic square, courthouse and all dating from the 1870s.....  lots of  tourists.  Beds and Breakfasts.  A reconditioned Opera House, with apprentice programs for cute drama majors doing shows in the summer....  I like that kind of crowd.  Even if  I was 20 years older than I should have been.  The day in question was payday, and Thursday, still a day to celebrate.....  bought some groceries including fresh asparagus! (How I remember?) And some imported beer.  (Who was I trying to  impress?)

Pulled into the Historic Square that warm June night in my 74 VW microbus which was in bad need of  repair or  replacement anyway.  I  had drunk a  Heinekens or two.  Open container law be damned.  The MADD mothers had not shut  things like that down yet.  The club was called Four Doors Down.   A cleaver name, since town ordinances forbid drinking establishments within four residences or businesses of a church.  This was the fifth down from the Methodists, actually.  But next to the Opera House.  I started drinking something like vodka Margaritas or tequila screwdrivers, a clever variation and mix-up, I thought.  but  after a couple of whatever, I mixed up the boozes and got an extra shot of drunk-sick, but still moving.  I sort of forgot about the cute kid I thought I wanted to pick up, and made it to the van somehow.   Backing out of the still crowded parking lot, I smashed into a shiny Chevy.  Oh my god hit and .......RUN!!!!....  I threw the thing in first and hi-tailed it  out of the square, hoping the group of people still around did not notice.  I roared around the corner of a small street, looking back to see who might be following, and WHAM!!!!    into this power pole, which splintered a bit but  did not collapse.   The windshield received my face abruptly.  I was bleeding.  Beer and asparagus all over the place. Across from the Baptist Church.   I found a hose to wash off the blood.  Then I thought I needed the help of a friend.  So I made it back to the square and called my neighbor for help.   I  remember someone on the  square inquired about my bloody face at the phone booth.

my  friend showed up  soon, and  the cops had not discovered my accident yet.  He helped me get the  thing in  gear, smashed as the  front end was, and told me to take the back way, to keep from getting discovered.  But as luck would have it,  cops had stopped a car on that always deserted road.  Lights were screaming.  My friend saw what was coming and split.  I panicked, but could not turn  around  at that point.   Nothing to do  but pass on by and hope.   But  no.    They had heard of my wreck somehow and forgot the guy they had pulled, and then pulled me!!!  Read me the riot act:   go to the hospital first or straight to jail, take the breath test or a blood test at emergency  room....  I opted for the later, using the logic that by then, the alcohol level would be lower...

At the  hospital, the night nurse, a no-nonsense Texas red neck sort, made fun of my small arms as she swabbed the blood from my wounds.  I really hated her.  And she stabbed me good getting blood for the test.   Which turned out several toques  over the line anyway.  That cute cop came back and took me to the drunk tank.  A fellow I worked with was also in the tank.   AMERICAN INDIAN, he was chief of his tribe back in Wisconsin, so he said.  Pre-casino days.  So still drunk we partied and raised hell for a while.

Next morning, battling depression, I paid my way out, and they said to go by the  sheriff's office and I would be charged and court assigned etc etc....  so, not  having a vehicle, it still being in the pound,  I got another friend with a  pickup to pull me back home.  The key had broken off in the ignition  by that time.

I  found myself  with huge  fines,  to replace the pole, and  a  court date.  I heard from my hit and run car owner, at least the driver.  Got a break there.  She did not own the car, and did not report the accident.  I cannot remember how she found me, but said that if I would pay for the repairs, I would not get in trouble and she  would not get in trouble with her out  of town boy friend.  This being Texas, almost Mexico, ready cash goes a long way to fix problems like these.

Later I got to enjoy the  irony of it all from the safe sober serenity of an AA meeting, I was sentenced to.   I could look out the window and see the 3000 dollar power pole I had bought the city!!!

The moral is....  Oh to hell with morals.  I am clean and sober today and that is what counts, but my heart and mind are still  as alcoholic as ever. - Preston
 

Brock writes:

I don't have a drunk driving story. I wouldn't do something like that. Now, blow job- driving while switching places behind the steering wheel with my boyfriend while we both are undressing, while going 60 mph, THAT I've done, but you didn't ask for that type of story. So I'm just going to point out that I doubt Chante Mallard was really under the effects of pot AND booze AND ecstasy. I think she just said that, thinking a jury would place less direct blame on her. After all who COULD both drive wasted and avoid hitting a silly- living life by the seat of his pants by walking in the road in the dark- bum? I think she was just drunk enough to think he was worth ten points yet never considered that he might actually stick to the car after she scored. In all seriousness, she got only half of what she deserved in regards to sentencing (50 years- she'll be out in 20 or less.) She had no respect for life after the fact, when she had enough time and reason to be shocked into sobriety. She isn't just dumb, she's dangerous dumb (and this woman was a nurses aide). As for my story; sex and driving don't mix either. It ended well, but the situation could have turned out differently. I'm glad I wasn't drunk on top of being dangerously horny, I like that I can recall every moment of it. Besides being drunk could have increased the chance I could have, all naked and moaning, plowed into you on your drunken way home that night  (I often used the tollway when I lived there). Wouldn't that have been the weirdest story to tell? Least I could say then, with a mischievous grin, would be "yeah, I hit that". - Brock
 

Sam writes:

Many years ago I drove home very drunk from a party, in Detroit, and ran over someone. I am pretty sure it was a person although I'm sure it could have been some kind of animal. I never went to look and see if the person was OK or anything. To this day it has haunted me and will probably continue to forever. When I got my car home in the garage there was a clear dent in the front of the car and a splotch of fresh brown blood. I panicked at the time and regret my action but it's too late to go back.
 

Rich writes:

Well, there's no way I could top Sam's cute little story, so I guess I won't bother with mine. His reminds me though of when I was a kid before I went to college, working swing shift at the Post Office in Omaha. We'd usually go drinking after work. This was long time ago, long before the MADD mothers, and none of us worried much about driving home drunk, it was the national pasttime back then. Most of the guys I worked with had just gotten out of Viet Nam, and we'd usually get semi-blitzed. Once a co-worker, Debbie, accidentally ran over an old lady when backing up out of a parking space, some drunk who hung around the bar a lot. Debbie didn't run, but another co-worker backed her up, saying that the old woman had passed out under the car and that Debbie couldn't have seen her, which wasn't exactly the truth. Debbie wasn't too upset about the old lady, just relieved she didn't have to do time. Ah, the blue collar life, happy days!
 

Paul L. writes:

Dear Mark,

Drunk riving is a terrible, tragic epidemic in our country. Your sense of humor is admirable about many things, but on this one I must send an email of protest. My boyfriend's uncle was killed on a motorcycle because he was driving with an estimate .11 blood alcohol level. He crashed in front of all of his family at an outdoor picnic. He lay for two weeks in a coma before they decided to stop his life support. After living through heart wringing tragedies like that one, it's a little difficult to share in your enthusiasm about people's drunk driving "confessions." - Paul L.
 

Ams writes:

Much like you I drove home alone after a night at a club with some friends, drinking Yagermeister shots and Blue Hawaiians. And I ended up in my garage after making it home "successfully." I remember being conscious that what I was doing was a very bad idea when I got in my car, but like you I thought that if I was very very careful I would be OK. In the campus town I was in, calling a taxi service or a friend or even sleeping in my car was just not a realistic option.

I was quite buzzed and paid close attention to everything and went slow as I drove from the club to the house I lived in. I thought I had made it home OK once I had pulled into our driveway. I pulled the car into the garage, put it in park, turned it off, got out and locked it, and shut the automatic garage door behind me as I entered the house. "Ah I have made it!" I thought as my head hit the pillow. The whole thing was a bit of a blur actually.

The next morning my hung-overed head was rudely awakened by one of my roommates who told me that a bunch of stuff had been stolen from out garage. A cheap lawnmower, a foot scooter and some sound equipment someone had been storing there were taken. I asked if my car was still there and she said "yes" but it looked like the thieves had moved it for some reason. I ran downstairs in a panic to find my car parked half in and half outside the garage. I thought it was odd as did everybody else. The car was still locked and did not look tampered with. Then I noticed a weird dent and paint scratch on the front hood of the car. The dent and scratch directly lined up with the bottom of the automatic garage door's path.

Just as the cops pulled into our driveway to file a report, I realized what had happened..I had obviously, in my drunkenness, only pulled the car halfway into the garage after activating the auto door when I pulled into the driveway. I then got out of the car, thinking I was all the way in, locked the car, and then entered the house through the garage entrance while hitting the door button on my way in, not looking back. The door then met the car halfway and automatically gone back up. With the door wide open on a Sunday morning, robbers who might have been prowling the area saw an opportunity and took the stuff in out garage. I said nothing to the cops while they were there. They said nothing about the car being "moved" and just thought it was kind of odd..but looking back I think they might have suspected what had happened. What was I going to say "Oh yea officer I was driving DRUNK last night on the way home from a gay bar! So I guess it's kind of my fault the garage door was open." I later confessed to my roommates as to what I had done, and they were pretty cool about it. The stuff that was ours that was stolen was no real loss.

Later the guy who's sound equipment was stolen screwed some other friends of ours over in a really serious way..so we thought his stuff getting stolen from our garage, because of my drunk driving, was kind of strange karma. - Ams
 

Kelly writes:

Who can afford an automatic garage door while in college?
 

Jayson from KY writes:

I drink and drive and run over people all the time just for fun. I'm so bored. On a dull night I'll buy several bottles of chapagne and get in my Lexus and just drive around running over as many people as possible. How many have I killed and maimed? No one knows. Cats and dogs too. The more champagne I drink the easier it gets to run over people. The front grill of my car is pretty mangled and damaged over time. I have before found bits of hair and "goo" on the grill but I just hose it off. I always aim for young, healthy types who look like they have their whole lives ahead of them, it's more exciting. I surley know I have only half-killed some people I have drunkenly run over because I've seen them get up and hobble and scream in pain through my rear view mirror. I figure one day I will be caught and go to prison or the lethan injection room, so I guess I'm just trying to live every moment to the fullest until then. My favorite tape to play on the car stereo when I do this is the Patsy Cline song "Walkin' After Midnight". I blast it.. - Jayson from KY


7. Old Act Up photos of me (courtesy www.scottmorganphoto.com)
    Did I ever post these up before? My old Act Up friend Scott Morgan took these way back in 1992 - and just sent them to me again. They're hilarious! Well they aren't hilarious... but the first one's kinda funny. Don't I look weirdly refined in the second one? Like I'm playing golf in the 1950's or something?
    These photos were taken by Scott at an Act Up march in Kennebunkport, Maine (one vacation spot of George Bush Sr. - when he was in office) in l think 1992 or something. The march's goal was to prompt the US government to take a more direct approach against the world-wide AIDS epidemic as it stood in 1992 ... and was directly aimed at George Bush Sr.
    The cops I am in front of in the first photo was the barricade in front of the Bush family's loooong driveway to their Kennebunkport home. George and Barbara were both home at the time. This was such a funny time... I have changed so much since these were taken.
    Thanks Scott! (Scott now has his own photography business: www.scottmorganphoto.com) Here are bigger versions of the both photos: 1, 2.
 
 

8. Fascinating read: "The Top 100 Corporate Crimes of the Last Decade"
  Written by Russell Mokhiber - whether you're into this stuff or not, it's totally fascinating stuff. The dark side of the Forbes 100.  Read it here.

(discovered through boing!boing!)
 
 

9. You don't believe that George W. Bush is Mr. 711/666 moon messiah? You don't believe the 1968 Movie "2001: A Space Odyssey" May Have Been a Prediction about the Events of September 11, 2001, and It May Have Cost the Movie Director, Stanley Kubrick, His Life? Do You Not Think 7-11 stores are EVIL Conduits of Catastrophe Used in a Plot to Wipe Out the Human Race? Involving BOTH George W. Bush AND Stanley Kubrik AND 7-11 stores??
    Mark Seely does! And he wants to convince you!!! Read on to visit the truth.
 
 

10. Jim
 
 

Mark Allen's Top Ten Things
for June 23rd, 2003
Copyright 2003 Mark Allen


1.  Alvin Lucier's "I Am Sitting In a Room" (1970 recording for Aspen magazine)
    If you are at work and in a cubicle and have speakers on your computer... I highly recommend turning your speakers up to full, teeth-vibrating, plastic-rattling volume and playing this 15 minute-long mp3 of Alvin Lucier's "I AM Sitting In a Room" (courtesy of the excellent Ubu.com) at top volume. It will make a funny work story... after everyone stops throwing staplers at you.
    In 1970, artist Alvin Lucier created a sound piece where he spoke several sentences into a tape recorder in an enclosed room (these sentences explained the process of the piece and what he hoped the outcome would be). Then he played that recording loudly into the same room, on a second recorder (player), capturing the sound it made in the room on a new tape in the first tape recorder... then played that tape in the room on the second recorder and recorded it on a new tape in the first recorder... and on and on and on... over and over... recording the same piece on a new tape each time... the sound of him speaking becoming more and more altered by the room's natural acoustic qualities... which acted like the weirdest sound filter or effects box you've ever heard in your whole life. It starts out with him sounding incredibly formal and timid... just talking... then by the second and third take it sounds kind of distant and weirdly zither-y... and by the end all semblance of speech or human voice has left and what remains sounds like an army of Zylons singing rounds of choruses on the moon - through a massive loudspeaker pointed at Earth. It's one of the strangest thins ever recorded. It's amazing what you can achieve with your voice and the simplest of equipment - using only acoustic habits of enclosed spaces and the moving air around you as a medium. Alvin's work is pure sound yanked out of impure speech... echo and reverberation having infected and taken-over what they originally accented.
    This recording was done in 1970 for an Aspen magazine flexidisc. Alvin also performed this piece at the Guggenheim Museum NYC that same year, and then recorded a second version in 1980, using slightly better equipment, in his living room in Connecticut (doing 32 generations this time) which was released on a CD that you can purchase.
    I think this piece is also a kind of funny analogy of the artist's insular state of mind, and the need to be left to his own machinations ... all "Leave me alone I need to be alone with my brain in a fantasy world!!! Oh here's a recording of me talking to myself... $14.99 please!"
 
 


2. My appearance on TechTV

> From: Mark Allen - logan5@ix.netcom.com
> Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 10:32:45 -0400
> To: Bryan Ockert - bryan@chaosinaustin.com
> Subject: I finally saw the TechTV thing

I finally saw the TechTV thing. Geeze what a dinky little story! I can't believe they made such a DOWNER about the whole thing. It ended so BUMMER... I'm like "I'll never do it again..." and the thing where they're like "Mark found, the relationship soured..." Plus, I of course hated how I looked (my face, not my comb-over, lawnmower hair). I hate seeing images of myself.

Camille did not talk about my "case" - also - she's looking SO old now! Although I doubt she's very conflicted about aging.

Gregory and I watched the tape over and over and were laughing ourselves into fits, overanalyzing me on camera. We couldn't get over the beginning part where they made me seem like the sickest weirdo on the whole show, cue ominous voice-over: "But for some... [insert looming music] the technology itself has become the desired object..." and the warbling, melting image of our side/by/side cam images all melting and the sound of a theramin-like effect. Right when they say "But for some..." the image of me on my cam on the scrolling shots (on our first date) turns from a laughing one to one where I'm making a scared look into my cam. Hahahahaha!!! The kidnap guy and balloon girl seemed healthy and happy compared to me. We kept laughing at the expression on my face on the street - kind of wide-eyed and weirdly sad. I look INSANE!!! I was wandering around NYC like Roman Polanski in the last half of "The Tenent"! What's with the John Wayne Gacy look in my eyes? Plus I remember that morning in front of the mirror trying to make my hair look all pretty and finally saying to myself "I'm just gonna make my hair look as stupid and insane as humanly possible and the people seeing me on TV are just gonna have to deal with it!" Well... I got what I wished for. I looked like I spent the night on a rainy, icy golf course and my head got run over by the lawnmower a couple of times!

It's like all that interviewing me about really heavy psychological stuff about my essay - and they only edited in the most shallow, dumbest parts. Those "experts" even seemed shallow. I mean, I love the World Of Wonder people's work... they were really cool and nice to work with. But in the end I can't believe they sucked all the insight and humor out of my "Cyber Crush/Cyber Crutch" essay and turned it into one-dimensional sound bite about how I was attracted to my computer. It was...

Gregory and I finally decided that people watching it must think I am truly nuts... a few years away from a yammering idiot fishing through trash cans... wandering the street mumbling to myself and afraid of fleshy humans. The last shot of me walking way off into the distance should have shown me, right as the announcer said "He decided he would never do it again..." should have shown me jump into the river with a rope tied around my neck! Hahahaha!!!

Gregory and I watched "The Hours" afterwards and we noticed a lot of similarities in the suicidal/agoraphobic/loony Virgina Woolfe character and mine on TechTV. Hahahaha!!

Hope you are well!
Mark

ps. Your new dog and boyfriend both look great.
 

> From: "Bryan Ockert" - bryan@chaosinaustin.com
> Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 20:48:50 -0500
> To: "'Mark Allen'" - logan5@ix.netcom.com
> Subject: RE: I finally saw the TechTV thing

Hmmm...I dunno..I know you guys probably got on a roll, but I certainly don't think you were the biggest freak..a freak, but not the biggest. Unless that's what you want..then oh boy..what a freak!

The sour line bothered me a lot..where'd they come up with that?

I dunno..when you said you'd never do it again, it seemed more balanced..like it was something cool to try, you dove in tried it, and now you've moved on to the next experiment. And I know even my poor mom thought that cuz she thought it was cool that you could just "try things" (You know moms, they get stuck in their ruts)

Being sandwiched between the kidnap fag and the balloon bimbo was bad, and they totally missed the whole point of the cyber dating (I wish it had been featured in the cyber dating episode-but I guess they found you through the Wired article about loving your computer...bound to focus on that)

Your comb over was perfectly lovely honey.

Bryan Ockert
ChaosInAustin.com Inc.
bryan@chaosinaustin.com
 
 



3. Sunday's 24 hour marathon of Throbbing Gristle music, recordings and live interviews on KFJC 89.7 FM, CA (and streaming on the web)
    If you are reading this right now and you didn't tune into KFJC 89.7FM this last Sunday the 22nd... it's over. Which is how a lot have people have experienced Throbbing Gristle's career from 1975 - 1980. Something as ineffable as Throbbing Gristle's fearless, uncompromising and weirdly ground-breaking work could only be seen through the rear view mirror... as it has been and has done... influencing countless genres of underground music and art in a kind of reverse wake.
    In 1976, Tory M.P. Sir Nicholas Fairbairn described Genesis P. Orridge, Chris Carter, Cosey Fanni Tutti and Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson (aka: Throbbing Gristle) as "...the wreckers of civilization" amidst a political and cultural swarm of controversy that found the group's art show (titled 'Prostitution') shut down, the artists themselves harassed out of town and the numerous ominous messages left on the group's home answering machine ending up as a track on their third LP  (see 'Death Threats' ...track number 11 on 1978's D.O.A.: The Third and Final Report of Throbbing Gristle). Pretend to play games with people's minds and you'll end up on MTV... truly play games with people's minds and you risk having something very nasty on your hands, and some consequences... as Throbbing Gristle probably know only too well.
    While other English musicians were swinging to disco or trying to simplify New York punk and market it to youth culture... Throbbing Gristle were taking everything they did to the unspeakable edge (taking the term 'cutting edge' sometimes literally).  They donned military uniforms and treated their art as though it were a mission. Their live music was a weapon that sometimes emptied venues within seconds... their performance was a drastic manifesto. Their terrorizing image a duty towards "information" and "truth" and "experimentation".
    Or perhaps it was total crap... depending on you and your mind. TG themselves might be the first to admit that (perhaps)... as looking back over their truly bizarre career one can't help but see how much humor there was lying at the base of it all. Humor at the absurdity of the modern human condition.
    When I was a little kid in Texas... the idea of, and image represented by Throbbing Gristle used to frighten me. I would peer at the covers of their albums in record stores and imagine the horror inside. They had gotten my attention. I never bought D.O.A. The Third and Final Report of Throbbing Gristle because the little girl pictured on the front sleeve scared me so bad ('...did TG torture her to death and record it for the record?' I shakily thought to myself)... and the story on the back that accompanied the "Hamburger Lady" track was so nauseating... the stuff of hellish nightmares.
    20 years later I'm digging through and researching their brazen adventures with amazement, fascination and admiration... laughing with outrageous delight and absurd wonderment at things that I thought should make me go insane. Getting the humor... dispelling the fear of the unknown. Of course, again... it could all be crap. Maybe it is... but it sure is interesting. Suddenly a black and white snuff movie of a woman slicing off a hippie's genitals seems like something I could watch in the middle of a field on a breezy Spring day... listening to super/subsonic sounds designed to make me vomit sounds like elevator music at the mall. Maybe Throbbing Gristle were onto something.
    KFJC 89.7FM's recent 24 hour marathon of everything Throbbing Gristle was fascinating. It included sounds, interviews (some conducted in 2003 specifically for this broadcast), recordings, stories, etc., etc... I only caught the last few hours of it... and even then I was walking in and out of my apartment doing other things. Hearing all this information jumbled together was truly great.  Listening to Cosey talking about starting out as a model and stripper (and wax poetic about why she loved it) before she met Genesis and formed COUM transmissions was ...reassuring in a weird way. Listening to Peter Christopherson talking about how, as a young kid on the school yard, noticing he was attracted to other young boys he was fighting with (in a kind of Romanistic orgy of violence way) and noting that this accelerated his brain at an early age... how being gay propels your life experience forward by forcing you to deal with the fact that you are already an outsider.... made sense. Listening to Genesis talk about how everything he's done seems subconsciously designed to make him have no regrets on his death bed. Listening to Chris Carter talk about how TG had to build all of their electronic and amplification equipment by hand because they couldn't afford otherwise... and how this led to unheard-of, non-pre-set electronic sounds... leading to a still-secret and very complex sound altering machine called a "gristlizer" that each member had with them onstage (of which there are only two left in existence - that still work). Listening to them as a group talk about how they used themselves as guinea pigs in their drastic sound experiments before trying it out on an audience. Listening to how they scraped their pennies together and just showed up at record pressing plants to do it themselves since no music companies dared touch their work. It was a delight.
    I emailed the station and asked if they were going to archive the whole thing anywhere on the web... they replied that "yes" they would eventually... but that they had to be a little hush hush about it. How appropriate. The broadcast itself acted as an almost simplified, audio version of Simon Ford's excellent book on Throbbing Gristle (which I'm still trying to get a copy of). I hope they do archive it somewhere on the web... as it was an audial museum of something that I feel is highly undervalued.
    So... after listening to about eight hours of Throbbing Gristle.... particularly their  "A Trip Through a Body" (a soundtrack to what a surgery patient would feel who's anesthetic didn't work but was paralyzed so therefore had to feel the entire operation in real time without being able to alert the surgeons) and early live recordings of super/sub-sonic sound symphonies that were supposed to force the audience to empty their bowels or have a seizure or become schizophrenic... I realized something....
 


4. Did I have a brain aneurysm?
    Actually it was way before the Throbbing Gristle marathon... over a week ago. I was sitting on my couch with my head at a too-far-of-a-bent-angle propped up against a very large, rather hard pillow. I was watching television. I kept sneezing in this position... and one of the times I sneezed - I felt this weird kind of "pulled muscle" at the back of my neck and these strange little pains that shot all around my skull... between my hair and the bone. I then stood up... the pain certainly wasn't unbearable... or even that uncomfortable really. Less than a headache as a matter of fact. I thought I had just pulled a muscle or something and that it would go away. But then... I realized I could still move my neck in all directions with no pain, so I wasn't sure it was a pulled muscle. Hmmm... what if it was a BRAIN ANEURYSM!?!? And at that very moment globs of blood were blobbing and oozing/orbiting around my brain like a Lava Lamp!? I ran to the mirror to check my eyes to see if they were filling with blood. Nope.
    You know they say that aneurysms (God that's hard to spell!) are actually very common... and can occur even to people that are very young. They can go off inside your head and blow a vein up into a little bubble... a little bubble that's just waiting for you to barf while on a roller coaster, or have an orgasm while hanging upside down on a jungle gym to go *POW!* it bursts ...and it's Christopher Reeve city for you baby.
    Remember when Joey Buttafuco's girlfriend ...uh, what's her name Amy... shot Mary Jo Buttafuco in the head, and they said the bullet was lodged so close to a serious artery in Mary Jo's head that if she jolted it too much she would drop dead? It was lodged so close and dangerous to a vital passage that they couldn't even operate? They were all giving her aspirin and pillows all day and were like "...just l-a-a-a-a-y-y-y  d-o-o-o-o-w-w-w-n-n-n  M-a-a-a-r-r-r-y-y-y-y... s-s-s-h-h-h-h-h..." Well that's how I feel!
    They say the symptoms of an aneurysm are nausea, weird centralized or migraine headaches, dizziness and double vision.
    I've gone through this whole thing before... after I had cancer I was convinced that every weird pain I had was cancer. I once was banging my head at a Exposed Innards World Tour 1996 satanic death metal rock show, the band was totally righteous... and I think I banged my head so hard that I pulled my neck muscles. Of course I called my oncologist on the phone the next day (wearing my Exposed Innards World Tour 1996 T-shirt) all crying like I had a tumor in my brain and she was all "...no you do not have brain cancer Mark!" I learned that you don't feel brain things in your brain... you feel them in your equilibrium.
    But the pain of the recent pillow-bent-neck-sneezing thing I did hasn't really gone away. When I sit on the toilet and squeeze out a loaf this can make my head hurt more. And Jim gave me a mind-blowing blow job the other day (what a whore!) and when I came... afterwards I felt that weird pain again and all those dull shooting pains all over my skull. No dizziness or double vision or nausea though... at least not more than the usual.
    Well... I hope I don't have a waiting-to-burst aneurysm. They pain is definitely less than it was a week ago. Maybe I should NOT lay down horizontally... you know like the Elephant Man? I wonder if when  (if) it bursts ...my head will explode and balloon up like the Elephant Man? Or like in that David Cronenberg film Scanners? Talk about the things you see when you don't have a camera! Gosh I'm worried.
    Well I think I'm gonna go take some Tylenol PM, drink a strawberry milkshake with cotton stuffed in my ears while sitting in a bean bag chair and watch a Disney movie in slow motion. I better be c-a-r-e-f-u-l... I don't wanna be typing my next "Top Ten" with one of those Stephen Hawkings motorized eyelid-operated typewriter thingies.
    I'll keep you posted... ow.
 
 
 


5. Cindy Sherman's new photography work; the "clown series"...  at Serpentine Gallery in London *gasp!*
    New Cindy Sherman work... *gasp!* I just found out about this.
    Mmmhmmm... clowns. Apparently Sherman has a retrospective of her catalogue at Serpentine Gallery in London (which has reported mob crowds) and they contain this new series. I think these were initially commissioned for British Vogue or something and they just worked their way into her body of work.
    So first it was her in little black and white film stills, then her in weird bigger color film-y stills with a red towel... then her in even weirder film stills with goo and vomit... then her in completely mind-blowingly insane ones with her looking beyond nuts or sometimes not even in the photos... then her as famous Renaissance paintings... then medical dolls and mannequins without her... then her in some fairy tale book commissioned photos... then itty bitty 8x10" black and white photos of cut up kewpie dolls and razor blades without her (where everyone was like '...huh?') ...then a bunch of high school yearbook-page-like photos with her back in them... then I think some other stuff... now her as various twisted scary clowns with club-invite-y looking rainbow backgrounds. According to this article, Sherman says she uses the clown as "a trigger for showing the multi-layered emotional depths within a painted smile."
    Brilliant! Another glass of wine please.
 
 



6. Gemini insanity
    We did these recently and we really like them. We would like to share them with you.
 
 
 
 


7. Deep Yothers
    Well it's official... "Lovelace the Musical" is hitting Los Angeles - starring none other than former child star ('Family Ties') and later rock star (her band: Jaded) Tina Yothers - as the supposedly held-hostage and later "reformed" 70's porn goddess; Linda Lovelace. The production sounds like a maddening bag of tricks... it even has music composed by former/current Go-Go's member; Charlotte Caffey ...AND it costars John Waters legend Mink Stole. AND is narrated by Ann Magnuson. AND the writer of the production is Jeffery Bowman... the guy who wrote some scandalous unauthorized biography about Whitney Huston in 1995.  AND if that is not enough... according to the production's official website; "Set during the glory days of the late 70s, 'Lovelace: The Musical' is a contemporary Rock Opera in the same style as 'Jesus Christ Superstar' and 'Hair.'  'Lovelace' is written in the style of the 70s but with a contemporary feel and will be performed with soaring ballads, driving rhythms, blues, disco and rock."
    If I lived in LA, me and a tab of acid would be sooooo there.
    According to an Entertainment Tonight story ...the production is aiming to hit New York. I wonder if my dealer is out of jail?
    I have had a slight Tina Yothers obsession ever since I worked in this insane/notorious record store in Dallas (Bill's) in the mid 1980's - we had an entire box full of a Tina Yothers 12" single (a really awful dance remix thing - *gasp!* I found the cover of it online here!) that I guess was the beginnings of her post-Family Ties singing career. It was so bad we became obsessed with it instantly. We would get drunk (like we always did at that store) and play it at different speeds constantly... we would use the cover as building materials in the store (we literally had hundreds of them) if the ceiling had a leak or something... we would alter Tina's huge face on the cover with pens and give them away to customers as "prizes"... we would make masks out of her face on the covers with eye holes and all wear them and tell people it was "Official Tina Yothers Day"... or take the records out of the covers and wear them as hats... I even used one of the covers to replace a broken window in my car - and it was there for like 6 months. Some girl who was high on ecstasy even vomited on one once... so we framed it, dried puke and all, and hung in on the inside of the front door with "Thanks for visiting Bill's Records" written on it. Ahhhh... those were the days. Bill (the owner) even made some calls to try and get her to do an in-store... but it never happened. I often wondered since then... "what ever happened to Tina?" Now I know.
    What a beautiful world.

(Tina Yothers in 'Lovelace: The Musical' was discovered through Jonno's excellent site)
 
 
 

8. Hasidic Chicken Football

From: Mark Allen - logan5@ix.netcom.com
Date: Sat, 21 Jun 2003 19:55:48 -0400
To: Grandma
Subject: I SAW A LIVE CHICKEN TODAY

HI GRANDMA!

IT IS RAINING SO AHARD HERE RIGHT NOW I THINK I MAY BUILD AN ARK. SINCE I
HAVE TO PUT TWO OF EVERY ANIMAL IN IT, I THINK I'LL START WITH THE LIVE
CHICKEN I FOUND TODAY WANDERING UNDER SOME CARS UP THE STREET FROM ME.

WE HAVE RATS AND ROACHES AND PIGEONS IN NYC - BUT NOT MANY CHICKENS. I THINK
IT HAD ESCAPED FROM THE LIVE CHICKEN MART DOWN THE BLOCK - WE HAVE ONE IN MY
NEIGHBORHOOD I THINK MAINLY FOR THE SPANISH PEOPLE WHO LIKE FRESH CHICKEN AND
THE DOMINICAN CATHOLIC PEOPLE WHO PRACTICE SANTORIA - (A STRANGE FORM OF
VOODOO) TO GET LIVE CHICKENS TO EAT AND MAYBE PERFORM A RITUAL OR TWO WITH
(BUT YOU DIDN'T HEAR IT FROM ME - I DON'T WANT ANY HEXES PUT ON ME).

I WAS ON MY WAY TO GO JOGGING... BUT MY HEART REALLY WENT OUT TO IT. IT WAS
BOBBING IT'S HEAD ALL UP AND DOWN - LOOKING ALL LOST. I KNOW IT WAS "FREE"
BUT IT LOOKED SO HELPLESS I KIND OF FELT LIKE CATCHING IT AND TAKING IT BACK
TO THE STORE. I DON'T KNOW. A CHICKEN IN DOWNTOWN NYC IS TRULY LOST. SO I
WENT JOGGING AND WHEN I CAME BACK IT WAS STILL THERE. AT ONE POINT A CHINESE
GUY WAS TRYING TO GET IT BUT COULDN'T IT WAS TOO FAST. THEN I WENT INSIDE MY
APARTMENT AND CAME OUT AN HOUR LATER. THE CHICKEN WAS STILL HANGING AROUND
THE STREET AND A SMALL CROWD HAD GATHERED. SOME MORE PEOPLE WERE TRYING TO
GET IT. I WAS AFRAID THE CHICKEN MIGHT GET HIT BY A TAXI BUT IT LOOKED LIKE
THE PEOPLE WHO WERE TRYING TO CATCH IT WHILE IT WAS TRYING TO FLY AWAY WERE
MORE LIKELY TO GET HIT AS THEY WEREN'T LOOKING WHERE THEY WERE GOING. IT WAS
GETTING PRETTY HAIRY!

SEEING HASIDIC JEWISH GUYS TRYING TO CATCH A CHICKEN IS PRETTY FUNNY. THERE
SHOULD HAVE BEEN LIVE CRAZY BANJO MUSIC PLAYING AS A SOUNDTRACK. AT ONE
POINT THE CHICKEN "FLEW" IN MY DIRECTION AND I SCRAMBLED TO GRAB IT BUT
COULDN'T. IT WAS LIKE A FOOTBALL GAME WITH A BALL THAT COULD FLY. I
EVENTUALLY LEFT THE SPECTACLE AND WENT TO THE DRUG STORE... WHEN I CAME BACK
- THE CHICKEN AND THE SMALL CROWD WERE NO WHERE TO BE SEEN. WHAT HAPPENED?
WHO KNOWS... JUST ANOTHER DAY IN SWANKY, METROPOLITAN NEW YORK CITY!

I'LL WRITE YOU AGAIN TOMORROW!

LOVE,
MARK


9. No nine
 

10. No ten
 
 

Mark Allen's Top Ten Things
for June 16th, 2003
Copyright 2003 Mark Allen


1. I saw an enthusiastic purchase of fish from the East River at my favorite Chinese restaurant!
    This last Saturday, I'm at my favorite Chinese restaurant downtown... (I have literally eaten there for years). I am paying for a large order of their delicious General Tso's Chicken (with snow peas instead of broccoli)... and as the smiling woman behind the counter (wearing a strange T-shirt that says 'I Am Playmate of the Year!') hands me my change and adds "Thankyouveddymahhh" - I turn around to see two very wobbly and smelly old men wheeling in a hand cart on which is a pile of very large freshly caught fish (hooks and ropes still in mouths). I thought it was just another pair of weirdoes in an endless revolving door of characters that come in and out of that place (me included). But as the owner's little girl excitedly hopped over to the fish faces and screamed something unintelligible and ecstatic... I saw one of the owners walk over to the two smelly men and offer them both Orange Snapples. Apparently she knew them.
    I have seen these two guys before on some of my jogs around the East River Park... in case you have never seen them before... guys like these and countless others fish with large fishing rods off the many piers and walkways off Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens into the East River and catch the fish. Yes. Yes they eat the fish. Sometimes cooking them right there in flaming metal trash can ovens. It's a whole subculture(article about this phenomenon in NYPress) of mainly poor-ish, sometimes homeless guys (and women) that know the whole fish pattern thing of the East River inside and out. They catch the fish and eat them... sometimes for themselves and sometimes for their families. I've always wondered about them and wondered if it would be any good to eat game caught in the river... swimming with mercury and pollutants and mafia cement shoes and God knows what else. But honestly I thought their world would never merge with mine.
    Until now. As the Asian owner of the restaurant walked over to the men with their complimentary Snapples... she blew her nose and excitedly started the haggling. "How much?" she wanted to know. Uh... how much for what? The fish? The fish that are glowing green because they were raised in the East River? Uh... um... I kind of looked back and forth... my money still in my hand... wondering if I should pay for my General Toe's Chick... I mean, General Tso's Chicken... or not. I mean... what was she buying it for? Right there out in the open? To COOK and SERVE??? SERVE TO ME??? Um... okay... calm down Mark.
    I paid for my food... took it over to the exit door and then stood and watched inside the restaurant as the woman figured a nice price for two of the fish and her daughter played with the lips of one of the fish with her fingers and giggled. Ugh... okay. I may not be what you think Mark... I mean, you have eaten at this restaurant for YEARS and you've ... you've never had... OH MY GOD YOU'VE HAD CANCER!!!! AAAHHHHHH! Okay wait... you got that before you started eating here. Okay... any third eyes? Unexplained, half-formed twin fetuses growing out of your side? Okay relax...
    You know how you go into these Chinese restaurants sometimes and see the whole family of the place sitting down under one of those fake plastic temple thingies eating stuff as a family? Stuff that's obviously not on the menu? Like metal bowls of glistening greens and mountains of  white rice and whole fish? Heads included? I think this may have been what she was purchasing it for. I mean... she certainly wasn't trying to be secret about it. Chinese people eat stuff like this all the time (article on Asian eating habits from Vice)
    So I ran home... delusion 99% intact and gobbled up my General Tso's Chicken with delight. Do I plan to eat there again? You bet. I'll let you know if a baby's arm grows out of my forehead... it might be kinda neat.
    And after my mutant meat I decided to have another slice of...
 
 
 
 


2. Jim's visceral, sense-challenging birthday cake for me - it's a baffling ordeal just to have a slice!
    You know I once read in some dumb magazine (was it Cosmopolitan?) an article titled something like "25 Quick Tips To Help You Loose Weight!" One of the tips was something like; "When you find yourself craving your favorite junk foods... mentally picture the foods crawling with spiders or scorpions!" I guess the goal was to temporarily gross yourself out so you wouldn't crave the food at that moment. You know... they say the mind can have great control over what the body does if you concentrate hard enough and train it correctly. Pavlov proved that. I never forgot that weight loss "tip" in that article for some reason... the image of fat people looking in city bakery windows and picturing the glistening, delicious fruit tarts and puffy chocolate eclairs inside writing with worms and maggots is an image that has never left me.
    Needless to say, I thought of that flippant article and "tip" this week when Jim told me to go sit in the living room and be quiet. I knew what was up (since my birthday was on June 14th), and when he walked out carrying a big cake tray (of which I could only see the underside off ) and warbling Mildred & Patty Hill's "Happy Birthday To You" in a bluegrass yodel... it felt like a scene from a Hitchcock film rather than a birthday party. Jim and I are always trying to "out-gross" one another. I could only see the underside of the cake tray as Jim approached closer... closer... yodeling... closer still... I knew Jim was an erotic cake baker by trade. And I just knew he had probably spent many of his off hours at Masturbakers dreaming up the perfectly horrible idea for a "wrong" cake for me. Honestly... as the bottom of the tray got closer and closer... I felt like it was the poisoned cup of Nazi tea inching closer and closer to Ingrid Bergman in Hitchcock's "Notorious" rather than a reminder of my age made out of sugar and flour. The suspense was killing me. What would be on the cake? A dead dog made out of chocolate Ho-Hos and smooshed raspberry pop tarts? A decapitated baby made from marshmallows and Blow Pops? Icky green and pink fuzzy shower mold made from cotton candy? Microscopic AIDS cells made from Fruit Roll-Ups and Jelli Bellys? The potential for Jim and I's need to shock each other silly had me quaking in my boots and my appetite exiting stage left. Closer... closer... cake lowering... lowering... lower...
    When Jim's outstretched arm lowered the cake into my field of vision... I realized it couldn't possibly sink any further.
    "I was going for homeless person on the sidewalk-style diarrhea and solid waste combination" said Jim as we both ...forlornly... looked down at his creation. His poop de resistance. "Thanks" I said with a resigned, blank look - my facial skin tone suddenly developing the pallor and color of rice pudding, and my tongue inexplicably drying out. "I wanted to put tampons on it with frosting blood... but I couldn't get a tampon - oh and the bloody toilet paper was one of the girls' at work's idea! Aaaand... I also wanted to use plastic flies but didn't have time to get them. Oh and also candy corns... no time for those... sorry!" he added as we both stared down at what we would soon be masticating. "That's OK!" I said. He had done enough.
    Thanks from the bottom of my heart Jim. I bet show-and-tell day in your grade school was a day that you really shined. No but seriously, a boyfriend who makes you a cake with elaborate poop sculpture frosting is one thing, but a boyfriend who makes you a cake with poop frosting and goes to the trouble to make several consistencies of poop frosting to achieve a specific effect of poop... well that's true love. Anyone who goes to the trouble to give me a mockery of a cake like this on my birthday obviously is someone that is going to be close to my heart(worms). Maybe for his next birthday I'll make him a snuff film.
    As we "dug in" I just closed my eyes and mentally pictured the cake covered in delicious frosting and colored sugar. You know... they say the mind can have great control over what the body does if you concentrate hard enough.
 
 


3. What's with Asian girls who "drag" the bottoms of their (usually sandal or flip-flop) shoes along the surface of the sidewalk very loudly?
    WARNING: Rambling rant:
   Now don't get me wrong... I love Asian women... they always look so perfect and weirdly strong. And I really love cute, young Asian girls who dress all kooky and come to NYC to shop on the Lower East Side... but WHAT THE FUCK is the deal with the ones who DRAG the soles of their sandals or flip flops or whatever along the sidewalk concrete all loudly?
    I mean... what is the root of this phenomenon? I've been to Japan and I never saw any teenagers over there do it. If you live in Manhattan and you've walked anywhere downtown you knoooooowww what I'm talking about... right? What the fuck is up with that? I mean... I wouldn't mind at all - if it wasn't the most BROKEN GLASS IN YOUR EARS, ANNOYING SOUND EVER PRODUCED IN THE UNIVERSE!!! You know in a science fiction movie when a UFO is about to land in a field and suddenly all the crickets and bugs get quiet? "Toooo quiet?" Well that's what the bugs do when one of these shoe-dragging girls walks by. It's against nature. *s-c-r-a-a-a-p-e* *flop!* *s-c-r-a-a-a-p-e* *flop!* *s-c-r-a-a-a-p-e* *flop!* It's like the kind of sound that only dogs should hear.
    I think it has to do with them (as a culture even) being in a kind of passive-aggressive attention hog frame-of-mind at times. It's like they WANT you to treat them like some mind-blowing celebrity... all staring at them and their fine-ness ...but something in their past won't let them convey this like a black or Latino woman. So the Asian girls instead walk around all quiet and once they start walking it's all *s-c-r-a-a-a-p-e* *flop!* *s-c-r-a-a-a-p-e* *flop!* *s-c-r-a-a-a-p-e* *flop!* Then you look in their direction to see where the source of the s-c-r-a-a-a-a-p-i-n-g, sandpaper-y, spinal tap-y sound is coming from they're all "Ooops! I made people pay attention to me!" - looking all around the street with a Blow-Pop in their mouth all "Yoo-hoo... photographers!"  It's like on the outside they're all "I'm good ...you want me to carry your bags? I am like ghost... you no see me." but (through their shoes) they're saying "I AM GODDESS OF SPACE AND TIME!!! BOW DOWN TO ME THAT I MAY CARVE OUT YOUR HEART AND SACRIFICE IT TO MYSELF!!! MOOOHAHAHAHA!!!"
    It's like they are manipulating people's gaze without looking like their trying... sneaking in on people's attention like Pearl Harbor - out-smarting seasoned New Yorker's abilty to ignore things by slaying their ears with annoying-ness. All from plastic flip-flops!!! It's like walking around with nuclear bombs and megaphones attached to your feet. You can't buy that kinda attention-getting shoe power an Minola Blahnik that's for goddamn fucking sure. Have you ever been within ear shot of one of these girls on an empty, echo-y street downtown late at night when no one is around and it's kind of quiet? Uuuuggghhh!!! It's torture! Chinese water torture! I'd rather get stuck with a shiv! Aaaaahhhhhh! The Asian girls with their floppy sandals!!! The audial horror!!!
    I have literally heard these girls coming from blocks away and have run screaming in the opposite direction... like a Godzilla movie. You know how they say your first instinct when you see a tornado is to try and gauge if it is coming or going? Well that's my first instinct when I hear *s-c-r-a-a-a-p-e* *flop!* *s-c-r-a-a-a-p-e* *flop!* *s-c-r-a-a-a-p-e* *flop!* coming from the direction of Canal Street. Do I need a vacation or something? Here's another thing: do you ever see men making this sound with their flip flops? NO! Occasionally you may see a male fag dragging his sandals... my advice? Avoid this fag at all costs... he has serious needy mental problems and is a psychic vampire.
    Aaaaahhhhhh! The Asian girls with their floppy sandals!!! The audial horror!!! It's noise pollution at it's most deadly! I mean, I have literally been walking down a street with two separate car alarms going off and a fire truck and a guy screaming bloody murder because he's getting stabbed to death and a million barking dogs and screaming kids and cabs blaring Indian music out of them and do you know that NONE of those sounds bother me as much as 'ole scrape-y shoe Asian girl. *s-c-r-a-a-a-p-e* *flop!* *s-c-r-a-a-a-p-e* *flop!* Sounds like the tag line of a campfire ghost story huh? *s-c-r-a-a-a-p-e* *flop!* *s-c-r-a-a-a-p-e* *flop!* Brrrrr... shudder...
    I mean why!? WHY!?!? Every once in a while you see an older Asian lady doing this... but only if she has... like, something she's proud of in her hands... like maybe a giant origami replica of the entire fucking solar system made out of The New York Times... all "I don't want to brag about my mind-blowing origami creation but... oops, did dragging my feet loudly make you gaze in my direction?" She uses her dragging shoe sound like black people use their natural personas... all "Look at me! I rule! That's right... uh-huh! You know it."
    How come the old Asian lady who digs for cans in the trash doesn't drag her black slingback dress shoes (worn over boy's soccer socks) while she's fishing dumpsters for Pepsi bottles? She clearly could. Do you know why? Because she has SHAME about what she's doing. That's right. She doesn't want you to look in her direction. Soooo... let's see, the teenage Asian girl or woman carrying the mind-blowing origami thingy dragging her shoes WANTS you to pay attention to her because of something she is proud of, but DOESN'T want people to think she is trying to get their attention. And the trash-collecting Asian woman who COULD drag her shoes DOESN'T because she does NOT want you to look in her direction because she has shame and is therefore not conflicted. It's all about pride and the inability to express that pride ending up coming out of their bodies in a weird way. Like a tumor of self-centered narcisism. It's kind of evolutionary.
    There... I've worked it all out...
 
 
 
 


4. I saw some breakdancers on the downtown 6 train the other day - it was a trip down memory lane (but in a weird way)
    I felt like I had stepped into a scene from a Jim Abrahams, early 1980's set-in-NYC comedy film, when - after the subway doors shut on the downtown 6 -  three black kids in sweats, large T-shirts and white sneakers pulled out a jambox blasting Kraftwerk's "Trans Europe Express", and started one-by-one breakdancing in the middle of the moving car. They were really good at it. Some things, no matter how "dated," never stop being remarkable and never stop striking you as "significant" at the moment you are witnessing them.
    It brought back a lot of memories.
    The way these three guys could spin around on their heads without using their hands (on a rumbling, speeding subway) was totally surreal and almost scary. These guy's athletic and gymnastic artistry, and weirdly precise rhythmic ability - was fascinating. They also did that trick where they all three interlocked bodies and then one of them lifted all of them up off the car's floor on his forearms and "walked" the group like some weird creature (in perfect syncopation to the beat). Again, all on a swiftly moving and tilting car. *WOW!*
    When they circled the car afterwards with an upside down baseball cap for donations, I gladly tossed in a dollar (as did most passengers). Then... in just the time it took to get from one stop to the next - *flash* - they were gone... and onto the next car (they had their routine perfectly timed to get from car to car - taking one stop's length in each). Lets see Circus De Soleil do that.
    Did you know that breakdancing supposedly has it's roots in the ancient Brazilian "fight dance" art of Capoeira? There was this really funny guy I dated briefly in 1991 in NYC named Ben. He was an AIDS activist and a photographer, but was also crazy about Capoeira. We practiced it once or twice at night in Tompkins Square Park and also attend a class at this big high school right off Tompkins Square. He was really good at it, and had been doing it for years - but I sucked... I was a total newbie at it. It's really hard to do. I never caught the hang of it and Ben and I drifted apart over the years (I wonder whatever happened to him?)
    So whenever I see breakdancers doing those *incredible* things on the subway to classic German techno music... I remember those weird, out-of-breath breezy summer nights in Tompkins Square Park, and in big dance rooms in the high school by the park... straining to learn Capoeira and spin my body just right to the beat of a drum and a berimbau going all *b-w-e-e-e-o-o-w*  *b-w-e-e-e-o-o-w-w-e-e-o-o-u* - then Ben and I walking over to Linda Simpson's "Channel 69" party at The Pyramid on Avenue A, then God knows what would happen next or where we would end up ...just another weird night in a very early 90's East Village... when downtown NYC was still almost as wild and scary as the Wild West.
    Seeing those entrepreneurial, talented kids on the subway - breaking the law and blowing everyone's minds, and making a stupid subway ride something to remember ...just brought it all back. That's my specific memory gong that gets hit every time I see breakdancing. Weird huh?
 
 
 
 


5. "Strangers With Candy" (1st season) will be officially released on DVD this Tuesday and I'm as damp as a cellar down there about it (all mildewy... enter if you dare)
    "I've got something to s-a-a-a-a-a-y-y-y-y!!!"
    I'm an obtuse man so I'll try to be oblique: one of the most stroke-inducing-ly hysterical and beyond-insane television shows ever; "Strangers With Candy," (created, written and performed by Amy Sedaris, Paul Dinello and Stephen Colbert and others) is being exquisitely released on DVD by Comedy Central this Tuesday amid a flurry of floosy-fainting and retarded yammering amongst the wide-eyed, drooling, jones-ing weirdoes with poor social skills everywhere. Since we all know the field of glory is no place for the malformed or abnormal... it was no surprise when "Strangers With Candy" was canceled by Comedy Central after three seasons, and it's seldom reruns segregated to odd, late-night hours - probably due to general confusion by the public. But now due to repeated bomb threats and stabbings of Comedy Central executives with shivs... the official DVD of the first season is now going to fall into the hands of retarded faggots everywhere.
    If you were lucky enough to rent your videos at Kim's Videos on Avenue A in NYC around 2001, you probably saw bootleg master video tapes of the show available for "lending" if you rented other videos or DVDs. I got to see these (which included bits the network had edited out) and they were superb. They were probably there due to the fact that most of the cast and creators of "SWC" live and work in downtown New York (I've seen Paul Dinello shopping at Kim's several times - always with a pretty girl under his arm) and they probably hooked Kim's up as a favor - seeing as how it's an art/trash film megalopolis. But these tapes quickly disappeared due to theft - as every ten dollar whore within a ten mile radius was clamoring to get a copy.
    Well you can all stop selling blue-eyed babies on the black market to afford burned copies of CDRs of the show from the growing internet underground following that the show has spawned, because here comes the official product from "The Man." There will be particularly large amounts of drooling and shrieking in a true celebration of retardation, as the cast of the show itself will be signing copies of the DVD at Best Buy in Chelsea (Manhattan) on June 17th at 7:30pm. Expect a Glint-induced, Fandango-sized hobocamp of specialness outside and inside. That poor store.
    Jim and I were thinking of going... maybe Jim could present Amy with a tit/scrotum cupcake and serenade her with his banjo while I massage her feet. She'll be in Heaven! Or HELL!!! Whether Jim and I go or not... we will indeed be obtaining this product... with which we will retire to my serial killer's crawl space where we will watch it endlessly while Jim gives me a vicious beating with a car antennae and then jerks me off while I pour beer over him. We're super jazzed. "Gooooood Tiiiiimes!!!"
    Pee on me.
 
 
 


6. Siesta House - TOPPLED!!!
    This is the worst building disaster to strike NYC since 9/11! Is some kind of sick revolution underfoot? Watch your heads!
    As I have been doing on ongoing, in-depth report about the swanky residence Siesta House and it's noble inhabitants... (please I implore you to see 12/16/02 'Top Ten' #3 and 5/5/03 'Top Ten', #9 for past info so I don't have to re-type it all... my hands are so sore and scaly *sob!*) I have some earth shattering news to report. Siesta House has been overturned... literally! As I was on my bike the other day and off to pay a bunch of bills... just another day... I whizzed under the Williamsburg Bridge only to squeal the brakes on my bike and stop and gape in horror. There lay Siesta House... on it's side... base-less and wounded. Where were the inhabitants? Nowhere? Where were the big logs holding up the structure? Gone. What exactly happened? Who knows.
    As you can see here... Siesta House used to be quite the building... and had it's own bizarre charm and strange resilience. Was the recent scandal at Siesta House (see 5/12/03 'Top Ten', #6) enough to cause a revolution? A riot? Were the wood planks serving as Siesta House's base actually some valuable, antique wood? Are they on display at the Met somewhere now? Was the structure lifted up by a UFO and then dropped? I guess I'll never know.
    Well as the structure is now on it's side and is wide open... one good thing is that I do get to finally see the inside of the mysterious building. Porno pictures lined many of the walls and windows... the cushions looked like they were 70's relics... and there were clothes, empty liquor bottles and jars of mayonnaise everywhere. As it stands now... the thing has been on it's side in the middle of the sidewalk for exactly one week - with a pick-up sticker for the sanitation department on it. I'll keep you posted.
    Good-bye Siesta House. You were an enigma.
 
 

7. Seven is an unlucky number in Asian culture - so no number 7 this week
 
 


8. David Cunningham's "Activated Space" project
    Perhaps the final answer to the question(s) posed by John Cage's "4:33"....  British artist and musician David Cunningham's ongoing "Activated Space" project's goal is "...to develop and present a series of installations that alter an architectural space to allow its resonant frequencies to become audible and interactive."
    Apparently, public squares in Copenhagen, stairwells in Tokyo, entrances to galleries in London, sides of buildings in Helsinki, warehouses in Sydney and unexpected hallways in Newcastle have already caught pedestrians, occupants and passersby unaware due to David's subtle and secret electronic manipulation of the normal acoustic habits of these public and private sites. Using a simple system of microphone, speaker, amplifier, noise gate and mixer... David manipulates the acoustics indoors and out, and either allows listeners to manipulate the sounds with their bodies moving in space (if they figure out what's going on), or watch as the sounds bounce and build around them (if the vibrations are just right) until they begin to quietly feedback - in which the noise gate cuts them off (the systems run themselves without David needing to be there). Whatever happens... it forces and allows people to "listen" to sounds in quiet spaces where they might not normally do so. Are you aware of the sounds happening around you in a quiet room? Go here to read more about the installations so far in the ongoing "Activated Space" so far in the project.
    Sssshhh...
 
 


9. The return of the great Pseu Braun to WFMU.org's Summer schedule
  The indestructibly interesting Pseu Braun returns to the hallowed WFMU.org studios after a lengthy siesta (Pseu returns from a siesta - Siesta House is toppled... a connection?) which left her legions of fans wandering aimless... their ears closing in on themselves for lack of sustenance. Their brains turning to goo... Oh praise Jesus, Allah, Buddha I love you all! Pseu is back!
    If you are a pay attention-er to this site, you will know that I listen to WFMU quite regularly... and inappropriately spout facts about it's worthy existence to strangers and on the street and confused acquaintances at parties. I will not be silenced! It is the greatest radio station in the world... and a shining example of what radio can be in the super-futuristic wonder world that is 2003. It's one of the last great things... and one of the few "public supported" dealybobs I actually contribute my hard rubbed cash for. Anyhoo... they have a zillion fascinating shows and subjects... I highly recommend it.
    One of the highlights is Pseu's program (now on Wednesday nights, 8-11). Pseu plays bizarre rock and strange new sounds that have a tendency to lean towards 4/4 time structures and the occasional microphone overloading. She also talks at length between each set... and her aural demeanor lies somewhere in the vicinity of Myrna Loy/Sandra Burnhart/William Burrows/Phyllis Diller/Kathy Acker/Bill Murray/Richard Lewis... she hilarious and weirdly insightful. I highly recommend checking out her program, she's great (listenable on any internet connection anywhere in the world). Her first show for this Summer schedule will premiere this Wednesday.
    I have also been listening to these shows quite a bit on WFMU: Brian Turner's show (Tuesdays 3-6pm, impeccable taste), Antique Phonograph Music Program w/ Thomas Edison's Attic (Tuesdays 7-8pm, music acoustically recorded on discs and cylinders and played on period machines circa 1895-1925 - fascinating) and Kenny G (Wednesdays 3-6pm, do I really need to talk about him more? He recently interviewed Pauline Oliveros live in studio and it was amazing). Countless others...
 
 
 

The Flying Lizards first LP on 8-track - circa 1980
10. My essay: The Flying Lizards: A Pop Band Arranged According To the Laws of Chance
    For those that like to read things I write, here is my frighteningly thorough essay on the weird late 70's early 80's art rock band The Flying Lizards. Originally published in Sound Collector #6 (April 2001), which is now out of print. Click here to read it.
 
 
 
 


Mark Allen's Top Ten Things
for June 2nd, 2003
Copyright 2003 Mark Allen


1. Kiss my ass Modernism!
    Look at this cool chair I found next to a dumpster! Some clear plastic things just beg for you to sit in them stark naked! Especially things you've found in the filthy trash! Will my life ever evolve to the point where I don't furnish my home with things I find in the garbage? Why just hose it down with cleaner and Windex it and it's good as new! I had to actually hose it down a second time and Windex it after I took this photo.
    I took an "underneath" photo too (hey... why have just a Xerox of your ass pressed against the copy machine glass at work when you can experience it *LIVE*?) but Domenic described it as too "ill" so I decided not to share it. It looked like Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Put 'Em on the Glass" video. Domenic also was sitting in this chair when I showed him the photos and quickly jumped up for some reason.
    Gregory's gonna vex himself into a black hole of envy when he sees this beauty - which I scored in the trash next to some dog shit on the sidewalk near Ching Chong's Six-Fingered Egg Roll Hut!  Only in New York City could you find furniture this fabulous surrounded by Glad trash bags full of dirty diapers and rats. But sure enough... on the way from my apartment to pick up some chink food... there it was, in the rain next to a dumpster. I stopped... and pensively watched the rain drops spatter it's clear surface - like Walter Gropius' tears from heaven (oooohhhh.... heavy!) Hmmmm... I thought of picking it up on the way back, but the chances of somebody getting it in that three minutes it took me to get to and from the restaurant were too great. Good trash furniture brings out the savage beast in downtown Manhattanites.
    Isn't it so eight years ago? Or maybe that's eight years ago by way of thirty years ago. Anyhoo... I was going to make it my new desk chair but when I sat in it I found out it's not exactly that sturdy ...or even comfortable. It's the kind of thing that's nice to look at but doesn't really function all that well [insert infinite number of analogies here].
    I bet those people that are into poop as a sex fetish - you know like the ones who like to sit on a glass table and poop on it while their sex poop partner is under the table - you know those people... don't lie. I bet when they see a chair like this they get a boner. Like when a straight guy passes the lingerie department at Wall Mart. You know if I did take a dump naked while sitting in this chair... do you know what sound effect would be used when my poop spread all over the Plexiglas? It would be the sound of that 1960's television cartoon-y trombone thing they would play whenever a comical character had something disappointing happen to them - all going:
   *Whaaaaa-whaaaaaa Naaaa-aaaannnnggghhhh...*
    Do pooping on plastic fetish people in NYC have Stendhal Syndrome when they walk into Canal Plastics in Chinatown?
    Uh-oh... I just remembered something; a friend of mine who's trying to get writing gigs for me at these big-wig magazines is going to be sending these editors to my site this week to check out my writing skills... and the first thing they're gonna see is this photo and me talking about doo doo! I'd better write some insightful stuff so I don't seem like some kinda weirdo! I'll mark it in bold so it's the first thing they see. On a lazy, wonderful afternoon stroll through the "ecstatic clash" that is whimsical downtown Manhattan, the markedly attenuated and strongly exaggerated style of this chair, which is an obvious example of "camp" (according to note number 9 on Susan Sontag's 'Notes On Camp') caught my "male gaze" and, wanting to "mark my territory", I decided to whimsically snatch it away to my tasteful loft and then freeze the moment in photography, with my chthonian, Dionsian flesh all smooshed up against it's plastic, Apollonian, artful, thing-ness. There... now I sound normal! Normal... educated... classy... and dignified!
 
 
 


2. On displacement
    I recently returned from a three day "vacation" in the mountains. I think I was suffering from Post-Vacation Displacement Disorder... if a classification like that exists in the medical field.
    As I walked the streets of Manhattan (which were overcast, mild and windy) on my first day back, I had no chance in Hell of spying crappy, plastic modern chairs... as I found it hard to even remember the most basic of information... like who I was or where I was going. Familiar visual clues eluded my mental processing. I had to concentrate a little just to remember where even the most normal personal landmarks were, or what they were there for.
    I stood motionless in front of a bodega... I knew I wanted a Diet Coke from inside... but I somehow forgot for a second that I had to go in and buy one in order to obtain one. I just stood there like "Uh..." I was an alien visiting planet Earth. I found the phenomenon of people walking on sidewalks and crossing at intersections to be weird and annoying. The way the buildings scaled up architecturally around me and then the sidewalks were around those perimeters was really screwing with my brain. I found the sound of cars and people yelling to be really grating. I kept feeling myself slightly "snap back" to mental awareness as I was walking around.
    Does anyone else have this temporary mental condition after getting back from a trip?
    When I reached the intersection of 1st avenue and Houston... and I was looking around trying to remember what dimension I was in... and I ran into a friend. "Hey Mark... what's up?" he cheerily said. Rather than respond normally... I kind of looked at him for a second and then... finally, without changing my facial expression one iota I said "Hello?" with a slight up-turn in tone on the second syllable. Like the way you would answer a telephone. You know... you say "Hel-lo?" - like a question - and your relaxed face betrays your inquisitive voice, because you know the person on the other end of the line can't see you. I actually responded to this guy on the street as if he had called me on the telephone! Just staring at him! He was standing right in front of me!  And this seemed normal to me at the time. My wires were indeed crossed. He just stared...
    God, if Post-Vacation Displacement Disorder does exist... I had it bad! I finally snapped out of it, shook my head slightly and said "Oh... hey! Hi! How are you!" We chatted a bit and then said good-bye. Then I turned to walk home and got about three blocks before I realized I was going the wrong way. Geeze... how does one snap back into normal brain mode after coming back to the city after a long trip away?
    Things to remember for my return back home after a vacation: Okay I have to remember to walk on the ground and not float above it... that is important. Food goes in my mouth and comes out my ass later after my body has processed it... not the other way around... don't forget that.  To eat is to take in food through the mouth, ingest, chew, and swallow in turn. People are not food. Walls support ceilings and floors are on the bottom... okay remember that. When talking to someone... let air out of your mouth to make sounds, do not breath in and make sounds... very important. It is not okay to attack someone physically on the street and assault them until they stop breathing... this is murder is wrong, do not do this. When walking, place one foot in front of the other in succession and propel yourself forward in this manner... very important to remember. Fire is warm from a slight distance but should not be touched... it is painful and can be deadly. Do not try to breath underwater. Cars are machines and are not alive... don't attack them for food. When you approach a person in a wheelchair... do not put a coin in their mouth and expect snack food to come out... they are not vending machines. Dogs cannot talk... do not try to have conversations with them. Those big birds going slowly across the sky that make a "roaring" sound are big machines called "airplanes" and are full of people going somewhere... do not shoot at airplanes. Subways are also machines and are not giant worms lunging out of tunnels to kill. Do not freak out. Wear clothes. Walls are solid matter and cannot be walked through. Gravity pulls you downwards and you cannot defy it... do not try to walk off the ledge of a high structure and expect to just keep going. You will "fall". To "fall" is to descend freely by the force of gravity. Time moves forward and is gauged by a clock... who's symbols will become obvious upon close examination. Look at a "clock" at different points during the day and notice the changes in it and then think of how the day is "progressing" and the concept of time will become apparent to you.
 
 
 
 

or?
3. RoughPA's personal sex ad on BigMuscle.com or Cindy Sherman's "History Portraits" series - which is more genius?
    I call BRILLIANT!
    Please do not get me wrong... I'm not making fun at this guy's expense, really. But... GEEZE... how can you NOT be fascinated by this guy's incredibly surreal and hypnotically strange personal ad on BigMuscle.com. This guy is a GENIUS! WHAT is this guy's story? Is he melting? Why do his pictures as a whole seem to span half a century? Why does the focus point seem to change all over the place within the photos?  Why do some look like they were photographed under water? Does he have a detachable penis?
    Remember Cindy Sherman's series of photographs that were weird appropriations of Renaissance paintings? The "History Portrait" series? She had weird detachable breasts and noses and props that weren't quite "right"... everything all oddly askew (above)? RoughPA's photos are more brilliant than those. Mmm-hmmm... it's true! If this guy were to get in a time machine with his printed-out ad photos, and go back in time and walk into Metro Pictures during a Cindy Sherman exhibit... the gallery would tear Cindy's photos off the wall and throw them in the trash, and then hang this guy's work up immediately and he would become a huge art star and be profiled in Artforum and time would have been altered forever. Mmmm-hmmmmm... it's TRUE!
    Stare... STARE at this guy's ad and look... I DARE you to LOOK with an unflinching eye at his gallery of photos and I dare you not to go MAD. MAD I tell you!  I mean... what the FUCK!?  *brrrr*  *shudder*  If mid-80's David Lynch made personal ads on gay sex websites instead of movies... he would make one like this.
    But... honestly... I don't wanna stir up trouble. I hope you get laid dude. Really. It takes huge cojones (even melting, underwater ones) to put an ad like that online.
    But then again, somebody may have you beat in that department... nobody has bigger cojones than this guy. Bravo.
 
 
 


4. DeadMalls.com

From: Mark Allen  Logan5@ix.netcom.com*
Date: Thu, 15 May 2003 18:28:49 -0400
To: info@deadmalls.com
Subject: BRILLIANT SITE!

Dear creators of DeadMalls.com,

Hello.

    Brilliant! Brilliant brilliant brilliant website.
    This is one of the most spooky and fun websites I have ever spent an entire afternoon looking over. *WOW!* The Dixie Square Mall in Harvey, Illinois is so far the best one you've documented (I haven't gotten all the way through the site). And some of the half-dead ones you have covered are right out of like... a weird fever dream or something. Like it's almost heart-wrentching to witness them. The spooky photos are really ace.
    I'm slightly (but respectfully!) disappointed that you don't have more dead malls documented from the Southern US (I assume you are based in NY). I grew up in Plano, Texas... one of the most sprawling suburban beasts in the US. I have been fascinated with suburban culture my entire life. When I left Plano/Dallas, TX to live in NYC in 1991, it had about 20 gigantic, indoor, multi-level malls and a handful of sad, one-level "outlet malls" in the older parts of the city... now there are even more (Plano is still growing by leaps and bounds). I'm sure some of the ones built in the 70's are dead.
    I distinctly remember one called Big Town Mall - an insane 70's, "modern" multileveled mall with a sick "circus tent" like roof made of brick and glass that looked about a mile high from my childhood perspective, and an oddly vague circus theme... lots of spiral ramp towers made of brick with orange carpet - and lots of brick and orange-carpeted ramps everywhere... and lit frosted sphere globe thingies everywhere... maybe some weird clown motifs too... my memory is pretty hazy. I know it closed at some point when I was in college - and I think it was eventually torn down. I'm sure in a few decades some more Plano, TX malls will die too, or get "sick". Funny but after seeing your site I am thinking about things of this nature.
    Anyway, just wanted to send a word of praise - your site is genius. Keep up the great work!

Sincerely,
Mark Allen

* NOTE: Email was never replied to... a website appropriately run by ghosts?


 


5. Weird New Jersey
    The superb and highly important magazine "Weird N.J." - which documents notable locations and phenomenon (past and present) in the highly unknown state of New Jersey... finally has a website. They have pretty much documented all of their past issues online. I highly recommend checking out the site, and magazine. I'm already planning to get a car and drive with Jim over to The Gates of Hell.
 
 
 
 

6. I live for stuff like this:
  Got this email recently:

From: "Frederick Sjödén" XXxxxxXxxxxx@Xxxxx.xxx.xx
Date: Sun 05/25/2003 5:56:17am
To: "Mark Allen" Logan5@ix.netcom.com
Subject: Goodday My name is Frederick Sjödén

    Goodday My name is Frederick Sjödén
    This is the third time I write on your webpage and I am sorry for that. I have problems with the swedish state. First they sign a bet and refuse to pay and lock me in a mental institution. Then they steal my mail and when I change my password they say I have forgotten my password. The other people in my student corridor have bets against me and when they loose all they lock me up in a mental institution. Worst is Johan who had bets with China and Volvo. Instead of going to the negotiaion table with contracts they send a commercial on TV and call it a contract. I demand real negotiation and that the contracts exist even after I have won them. My sister accuse me of incest but all it takes is a lie detector test to prove I am innocent. The testers may ask me any questions about incest. Sweden is the most corrupted murdering state in the world. To make me sign conscription I was smashed twice in the backhead. Lady Di wanted to give me 4 million dollars for winning the bet in 1992. That didn't happen the queen refused. I don't need that much money to make heaven as a billion kronor. But the Swedish state was stupid to sign a 10 billion kronor bet against the pope as the pope said. They have to pay. I want real negotiation. The other people in my institution are professional harrassers consisting of marxists and 13 year olds who pretend to be 23 even the staff are professional harassers. It is most about taking the money I have won from the bets. And much about killing my soul. He don't deserve money if he doesn't have a soul it is considered.

Yours Sincerely,
Frederick Sjödén

ps. And I don't want to hear from the executive of Coca-Cola. If he can't interrupt in my fund Coca Cola Australia can run it otherwise it is signed over to Bayliner. Otherwise a lawfirm so I am sure to get the money.


 
 
 


7. Jim got me this in North Carolina
    Isn't it great? He got it at a thrift store. It flips upside down. Some truths are eternal... eternally hilarious!
    He was going to get me this black T-shirt he saw at the same market that said "The REAL Boyz In Da Hood" and had a picture of three hooded KKK Klansmen on it with a confederate flag behind them. He didn't get it... but I told him that if he did get it for me I would wear it in my neighborhood ...that is if if I ever decided life wasn't worth living anymore and I wanted to "...go out with a bang."
 
 
 
 


8. Have you seen me?
    Have you seen me? Would you let me know? Could you have me contact me? I'd like to talk to me... [insert Janis Ian music].
    Created using Flashface online program (beware - it's strange html parameters were fucking with my browser) - and the above composition was created by Joel!
 
 
 

9. My weird dream from the other night
    From my Dream Journal. I thought it was pretty interesting. Here it is:

5/31/03:

    I am living in some countryside town that I do not recognize. I seem to be hanging out a lot with these two guys who are a bit older that me. One of them has a beard. We are in some kind of cottage. We are discussing this science fiction story about these machines that have been inserted into people's bodies. The story goes that people are drugged and then hauled off to some secret laboratory where these silver-colored, metal machines that have a body about the size of a softball - and then a long arm thing about a foot long coming out from it - are inserted surgically into their throat area - at the core of their torso. They are then returned to wherever they are abducted from with no scars or traces of the operation at all. The person has no memory of the incident at all and does not know that the machine is in them. Then at a certain age... the person's machine does "something" - whether it's good or bad I do not know. We discuss the story... which is a book.
    Then one of the guys mentions a variation of the book where a whole society of people willingly gets the machines inserted into them at a certain age and everyone has them. There is also this weird thing in the second variation of the story where there is a very slim chance that when the machine inside the person "activates" that something will go terribly wrong and the person will die a horrible, painful death. But the chances of this happening are about the same as dying in a plane crash so people don't care.
    As the three of us are talking about the story, I "see" this television ad for the machines... it shows two pretty girls in a beautiful, sunny meadow - they are having a picnic. It is one of the girls' time for her inserted machine to "activate"... it shows her kind of jump... then have an apprehensive but smiling look on her face... then exhale and giggle along with her friend as she realizes her machine has activated with no trouble. Then a voice-over comes on and says something like "machines are safe and the side effects include..." It's a funny ad - it reminds me of those tv ads for drugs that always list the weird side effects over shots of people playing in the sunset on a beach. I can also kind of "see" the machine inside someone's esophagus and throat (it may be part of the ad) as I see the television ad. It has this kind of cone shaped thing (with no point) at the end that has a ring of tiny red dots around it. This cone is at the end of the arm and "extends" automatically at the time of the activation... then the arm releases an extension of itself so it looks like a two jointed arm - with an "elbow" - and these thin red threads come out of each red dot and do something in the body (squirt something out?). I think some lights also activate on the machine.
    I get on my bicycle and leave the guys in the little cottage thing. I bike though the glorious countryside home... it is dusk. As I am riding up a hill... I feel something in my chest... something weird. It is one of the machines! And it is activating! I realize that the two guys I was talking to are "working" for whatever society or government (or planet?) that inserts the machines into people. They, at some point, must have drugged and operated on me! I'm surprised but strangely resigned to the situation. I feel the machine moving, activating inside of me. I'm kind of scared. Will it go "wrong" when it activates and kill me? I keep pedaling uphill. I think of the television ad with the two girls in the meadow and the soothing, reassuring voice-over as I pedal and let the machine activate inside of me... it makes me feel better.
 
 
 

10. Jim's email about the above naked clear plastic chair photo
    Jim had this to say:
From: "James Krewson" Xxxxxxxxxx@Xxxxx.xxx.xx
Date: Sun, 01 Jun 2003 21:23:25 -0400
To: logan5@ix.netcom.com
Subject: Re: Look at this cool chair I found in the trash today!

Hey! That's the best lookin pressed ham I've seen all year! Makes me wish it was Easter again!  Officer, did ya get the license number of that chair? I think I just had a hit-and-BUN accident! Hey, you oughta bring that thing to checkups... It'll make your PROCTOLOGIST's job a lot easier! Hoho! Seriously, though. love the picture. I tiled it on my desktop. And speaking of desktops...

Jim

 

Copyright 2003 Mark Allen

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