One week ago, I heard punk singer Tibbie X read poetry at a gathering organized by poet Michael Graves — but not the architect Michael Graves, nor the Misfits singer (and Republican) Michael Graves, though it’d certainly be cool if they were all the same person.
•But perhaps the most interesting thing I learned was that Tibbie and a friend, when they were young, briefly ran a business selling blasphemously altered crucifixes as fashion accessories that grew in popularity so quickly, they basically had to shut the operation down for lack of management time/resources. And the best part of the story is that their business, Manic Satanic, was visited by an unpleasant, black-clad bald man who turned out to be an official representative of the local Church of Satan, come to make sure they weren’t using the Sigil of Baphomet on their accessories — not because this would violate ancient and powerful rules of black magic but because the Sigil is a registered trademark of the Church of Satan. Ah, capitalism!
•In less Satanic news, Tibbie’s husband Nico has become the first person from whom I’ve ever received a mass-e-mail about his medical condition that included a file of a video of the relevant MRI scan (of his hurt knee). Can it really be five years already since Nico Westerdale was a vibrant, fit young man sitting near me in the theatre exchanging diarrhea jokes with Michael Malice during the first Hulk movie (right before, as it happens, Banner said, “But the thing is…when the change happens…when I lose control — I like it” — a line Ang Lee could also have used in Brokeback Mountain)?
•And as it happens, this weekend is a bit Satanic, too: Friday night and tonight (Sunday the 22nd, at 5pm), a staged reading of Exorcist writer William Blatty’s comedic play Demons Five, Exorcists Nothing about the production of a terrible movie involving the occult. Your head will rotate — with laughter!
•Before you say “I don’t see the appeal in all this Satan stuff,” do check out this picture of Underworld’s Kate Beckinsale trick or treating with her daughter Lily Mo that I stumbled across — and no, that is not a photo from the Free to Choose Media/Izzit.org Winning Ideas Weekend where I spoke yesterday to students and their parents about bogus science stories, which was inspiring.
•Speaking of dialogue with the young and stories of fantastical powers, I highly recommend director Tarsem Singh’s The Fall, the beautifully-visualized story (from the director of The Cell and R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” video) of a young girl and a depressed older hospital patient negotiating their way through his tale of five warriors crossing a magical land to combat the evil Governor Odious, our narrator all the while wracked by suicidal despair. It’s all about the power of narratives, personal, filmic, or fantastic, to ensnare people, and I think it’s my new favorite movie of the year, beating out Speed Racer, much as I enjoyed that. Maybe having heard all the basic stories a million times is making me more visually-oriented as I age (or regress).
•And while I’m no Christian and thus cannot be a Satanist, I think Bush awarding a Presidential Medal of Freedom to former Clinton Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala two weeks ago was surely a sign of the End Times. Remember, I told you just recently they never give those things to people like anarchist Samuel E. Konkin III. I recall much was made of Clinton having “a Cabinet that looks like America,” but I hadn’t realized until then America looked so much like the Dick Tracy villains.
•At that same poetry reading after which Tibbie mentioned her Satanic past, by the way, I read a G.K. Chesterton poem from the Templeton Foundation ethics journal In Character, so I figure it all balances out (more on Chesterton in December).