Phx Sux

Are you in Phoenix and looking to scope out some fresh new art? Come on down and check out the Trunk Space’s “Phx Sux” art show (put together by Troy Farah from De’Lunula). You should come down and check it out because it’s going to be an awesome show AND because it’s the very last art show put on by the Trunk Space. TS, that bastion of all-ages shows, staple of D.I.Y. culture in Phoenix, is closing in May (hopefully to reopen elsewhere in the future).

If you come to the opening tonight, you can also peep the fourth installment of “De’Lunula Screeners”, their warped and wild short film series (this one hosted by Phoenix punk supreme/solid bloke Andy Warpigs).

Also: I’ve got a piece on view at “Phx Sux”. 🙂

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Dropping a New Zine Thursday!

This Thursday I’ll be performing once again at Lawn Gnome Publishing’s PEP Rally variety show. This week the topic is a subject near and dear to my heart: the occult! I’m excited to be trying out a new bit…. and I’m also excited because I’ll be selling a new occult-y zine, “Elephant Head”, at the show! The first print run is only 23 copies, and each individual copy comes with its own special insert. I’ll be selling them for $5 (and if you happen to be at the show and want one but are short on cash- we can work out some kind of trade).

I started working on “Elephant Head” back towards the end of August, and then put it on the shelf. Over the last couple of weeks, inspiration struck again and I dusted it off and added some finishing textual touches and it is good to go!

A sneak peak at what ze zine looked like a few months ago:

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In Deafheaven, Everything is Fine

Last night I saw Deafheaven at Crescent Ballroom. How was it? Let me reach into the ol’ bowl of critic buzz words for a sec. Ah, here we go:

Cathartic. Transcendent. Powerful. Raw Power. Fuckin’ Rad.

Yep, that about sums it up.

A few stray observations about last night’s show:

NO HEAVEN FOR FATTIES

They had some amazing looking shirts at their merch booth… but sadly no XXL sizes. Yours truly was out of luck in the concert T department.

MAKING AN ASS OF YOURSELF

There was an assortment of ecstatic, sweaty, thrashy moshers throughout the night. One dude had a unique ragin’ technique I haven’t seen before that I shall dub The Overeager Rentboy (aka The Buttram), in which he would pinball himself through the crowd by bending over and ramming himself ass-first at people in the audience.

TOUCHED BY THE HAND OF GEORGE

George Clarke cut a compelling figure onstage. Dude didn’t have to wear corpse-paint to look intense. He was super-engaged with the crowd, frequently leaning in to the crowd, throwing out high-fives and grabbing people’s hands and giving off a slightly more sane and composed Ian Curtis vibe. I will admit that I felt like a little girl when he gave me a high-five. “He touched me! How cool is that?” I almost shouted that, but then I realized that I was a 32 year old man wearing a bow tie and that would be an absurd thing for me to say.

“THIS GORGEOUS INTERLUDE IS BRUTAL!”

Respect to the moshers who were so committed to raging that they were even wrecking shit during the ambient interludes.

METAL MILHOUSES

A lot of folks at the show who looked like this.

COME BACK

I doubt I’ll hear a more beautiful and moving piece of live music this year than the last few minutes of “Come Back”. The best way I can describe it was like spending time running through a dark forest, banging head first into hard trees and being cut by sharp branches, pursued by some nameless sweaty monster and then suddenly emerging into a wide open clearing bathed in golden light. Those last few minutes were that golden clearing. I wish I was back there now.

 

Things That Go Bump In The Night, In Your Skull (Ghosts of Halloween Costumes Past #3)

Another archival Tumblr piece, also from 2012. I’m happy to say that I WILL be attending this year’s Otoacoustic performance (like I did last year and the year before). It’s my equivalent of Christmas mass, and I am loathe to miss it. If you’re in AZ and interested in going to this year’s Otoacoustic, here are the details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1487546074873742/.

Things That Go Bump In The Night, In Your Skull

The 2010 Otoacoustic Emissions performance (photo by Jason Woodbury)
The 2010 Otoacoustic Emissions performance (photo by Jason Woodbury)

I go to church once a year. On Halloween night. For the last two years, I’ve gone to St. Augustine’s Church in Tempe. I won’t be going this year: I have a performance gig around the same time my annual “service” starts. I’m grateful for a chance to be on a stage doing what I love, but a part of me wishes I could be in Tempe. I hope whatever spirits preside over St. Augustine’s on those Halloween nights won’t damn me for my absence…

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If you’re wondering, dear readers, what kind of service I’m referring to (no, it isn’t an orgiastic black mass, so you can close your LaVey books and pull up your pants), I’m talking about the annual Otoacoustic Emissions that Jacob Adler organizes. This will be the 5th annual incarnation of the O.E.; I’ve caught the last two, and I regret missing the 2 before it. They are transcendental, trance-inducing experiences. In short O.E. goes like this: a procession of musicians (walking into the church in 2 lines, dressed in black, some carrying LED candles) enters the church, gathering in a ring in the pulpit area, and begin playing a long drone that lasts for almost an hour, complemented by an organ and gong, a drone that produces frequencies that makes it feel like the sounds are coming OUT of your ears instead of entering them. The sheer power of the experience, the physical PRESENCE of the sound those musicians make, the immensity of it, boggles my mind…

Vocalists hum and wail as percussion and strings and wind instruments and god knows what else plays along, building and building in sonic intensity until the large church hall resonates with sounds so loud and deep and celestial it feels as though we’re listening to whale songs, gigantic whale songs, but the sounds are internal, it feels like WE’VE swallowed the whales and they are singing through our bones and cheekbones and out through the top of our skulls and the sounds get so loud my body starts to rock slowly and I feel like I’m going to lose consciousness and sometimes I do and I wake up to be lifted up higher by that whale song until I forget my own name and how much money is in my bank account and what I’m planning to do later and what I did before I came here and I even start to forget where here is anyway and then the music starts to die down and the whale song gets faint and then its quiet in the church, the church is quiet, but I’m not, my body is humming and my mind is tuning itself, trying to remember how that tune sounded, you know the song, “My name is ___” and I sit in the pews as the musicians leave; I usually don’t end up filling that blank until the last one steps out of view and it’s always a bittersweet feeling, that remembering: few things in life feel as good as being a blank… Sweet, sweet tabula rasa.

That’s how I feel at St. Augustine’s on Halloween. I don’t feel the presence of the dead or the invisible world out on the streets, but in that hall, in that drone, I feel I’m hearing something ancient and inhuman and powerful clear Its throat. I’m going to miss not being close to that throat this year.

CALL FOR ART: “Wreck The Halls” With Wild & Weird Xmas Wreaths!

CALLING ALL CRAZY CHRISTMAS CRAFTERS!

Space 55 wants you to “Wreck The Halls” this holiday season! We’re putting together a wild and wacky Christmas wreath contest, and we want YOU to bring us your most insane Xmas wreaths! How insane? Check out the one we made:

"Venus in Firs" by Ashley Naftule
“Venus in Firs” by Ashley Naftule

The winning “Wreck The Halls” wreath will win $25 cash, free show passes AND super-secret schwag! Winners will be announced on January 2nd at our 7 Minutes Into The New Year variety show.

The Rules: wreaths cannot be bigger than 24″, and must be hangable. That’s it! Go nuts. Don’t worry about taste, logic, sense or decency: the crazier the wreath, the better. There is a $5 entry fee for the contest (as a donation to Space 55). Drop off times for the wreaths are Wednesday Dec. 2nd and Thursday Dec. 3rd between the hours of 5:30-7:30pm in the Space 55 lobby. If you’re from out of state and would like to participate, message me for the address and more details.

For more information, contact Ashley Naftule at theemperornorton@gmail.com.

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Get out there and wreath some havoc, folks! 😉

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Siamese Dreams, Cowboy Photography and Flagstaff, Oh My!

Lorenzo Llama showing off his talent(s).
Lorenzo Llama showing off his talent(s).

Yesterday I drove up to Flagstaff (which I haven’t visited since I was a wee Ash) to perform in the first ever Big Pine Comedy Festival. I opened the 7pm sketch comedy show at Firecreek Coffee* (hosted by standup wunderkind Anthony Desamito), where I played my character Lorenzo Llama (renowned Old Town Scottsdale boudoir/cowboy photographer and expert on the subject of dick pics), who spent 20 minutes giving the audience pointers on how to take the perfect dick pic.

I also spent part of my time wandering downtown Flagstaff (where it’s a BITCH to park, I must say) and enjoying the architecture and vibe of the place. The festival itself (the little of it I got to see) seemed to be a major success: excellent crowds, comics and sketch groups that were on top of their game and a very positive, communal atmosphere pervaded the day.

I drove home listening to “Siamese Dream” on a warped cassette. Even with all the weird noise and bloops on the tape, it’s still an incredible album and (much to my surprise) it is PERFECT ROAD TRIP MUSIC. I could listen to the 1-2 punch of “Geek USA” into “Mayonnaise” all day long (has there been a better song recorded that’s also named after a condiment? I doubt it).

Here’s hoping there will be a Big Pine in 2016. If there is, I’ll be there faster than you can say “Seriously, fuck the parking in Flagstaff!”.

Lorenzo displaying his other talent and passion: drawing caricatures.
Lorenzo displaying his other talent and passion: drawing caricatures.

*The coffee at Firecreek: their cold brew was awful-awful-awful. Not as bad as the Starbucks cold brew abomination, but close. On the other hand: their salted cardamom latte was SHEER UNBRIDLED ECSTASY. Best latte I’ve had in my life. And their house pretzel (with pale ale mustard) is pretty choice, too.