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Monday, October 30, 2006


Bonfires burning bright
Pumpkin faces in the night
I remember Halloween!

"Halloween"-the Misfits

Signs of my favorite time of year are popping up all over the place, including this fantastic display across the street from the barbecue joint provided by Jerry, a local artist who specializes in paintings and huge graffiti stickers like this portrait of Bela Lugosi. Just the thing to get my work day off to the right start!

This past Friday night at the barbecue joint we held a combination Halloween shindig and birthday party for Tracey the waitress goddess, and lemme tell ya that the joint was jumping! We even had people from as far away as Massachusetts and Pennsylvania grace us with their costumed presence, all ready to party and pay tribute to the birthday gal. And we even had seasonal libations served in plastic skulls to make things that much more festive.

As the evening proceeded, costumed revelers came out of the woodwork, many of them couples out sharing a night of disguised lunacy.

Our most badassed bartender , Will, represented as Mister T and the weird thing about that was that it didn't seem to be that much of a stretch.

John, one of our regulars, showed up as Clark Kent, but as the alcohol worked its way through him he shed the suit and kicked back in the height of Kryptonian sartorial elegance.

The Harry Potter contingent was embodied by Remus Lupin and the lovely Tonks.

These two lovely ladies both showed up as Velma from SCOOBY-DOO, but somehow a doppelganger cat fight was avoided. And I swear to the gods that I want to take a bite out of the zaftig one with the long hair! I mean, just look at those eyes and that smile...Damn!!!

One of my favorite regulars, Marius, showed up as Captain America's arch-nemesis, that asshole the Red Skull, taking the prize for best comics geek outfit.

My old pal Amanda Conner showed up with her boyfriend, Jimmy Palmiotti, in tow, and held court with a she-demon and Tonks.

Here we have Medusa in mortal combat with the birthday girl as Beowulf, ever cautious against staring the Gorgon in the face lest she turn to stone (much like the below-the-belt bits of several men in attendance once they got a look at Tracey in full-blown barbaric masturbation fantasy splendor).

And here's yours truly as Tim the Enchanter from MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL, surmounted by a delicious display of lovely titties and my kitchenmate, Scott, as seventies supercop Ken "Hutch" Hutchinson.

I had a terrific time, and I intend to get as much mileage out of the Tim outfit as I can on Halloween itself. We have another Halloween party at the barbecue joint tomorrow night and I intend to drop by, so stay tuned!

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Sanctify This Place
Protect Us From Evil
Behold The Power Of The Night
Shine That We May See The Light
Curse The Filthy Hypocrites
Crawl Into Their Beds At Night
Ooze From Slimy Depths Below
Scream Into Their Frozen Brains
Work Thy Wretched Wrath
Remove All Obstacles From Our Path
I Command That These Things
Of Which I Speak
Will Come To Be
Behold The Power Of The Night
Shine That We May See The Light
Curse The Filthy Hypocrites
Crawl Into Their Beds At Night
Ooze From Slimy Depths Below
Scream Into Their Frozen Brains
Behold The Prince Of Darkness Here
You Sealed Your Doom
Your Time Has Come
So It Is Done

-"Doom Song" by the Plasmatics

I went in to work at the barbecue joint very early last Sunday, arriving just before 9AM to prepare fresh racks of ribs for a wedding party that had rented the place out for the tail end of the afternoon and the early portion of the evening, four hours in total. Not fun for me since by virtue of the job I have become more or less nocturnal (but was a night person by nature anyway), but somebody has to do it, so I hauled my beige ass through the door in a semi-somnambulent state (I went to bed as early as possible, but I couldn’t sleep, and stopped trying to at around 7:30AM). I don’t drink coffee, so caffeine wasn’t going to help, but I could always rely on my tried and true drowsiness cure: very loud music. And since the place is very well soundproofed I could rock out with my cock out (metaphorically of course, because otherwise there would be health code violations to deal with).

But what to choose? I have a small library at the ready in the kitchen, initially dragged in to wage a self-defense war against the mostly torturous tastes of one of our bartenders (you know who you are, Joy!), and as I perused my choices, I caught sight of the Plasmatics’ “New Hope For the Wretched,” a classic punk/metal hybrid that I’ve adored for some twenty-six years. Featuring staggeringly idiotic lyrics, balls-out guitar masturbation, and a beat that combines a beehive-like buzz with a poppy bounce, I find it irresistible as an enjoyable alarm clock. But what sends the album into rock ‘n’ roll bedlam Nirvana is the unique vocal stylings of the ultimate hardassed frontwoman, Wendy Orlean Williams, or Wendy O to those of us who loved her. Immediately getting a warm feeling at the mere thought of the record, I put the disc in the stereo and hit “play.”

In no time I felt my vitality surging back to life and I bopped about the kitchen, merrily seasoning ribs, cutting up pork, and loading the two smokers while singing along with “Tight Black Pants,” “Monkey Suit,” and many others before settling on one of the greatest songs of all time, namely “Doom Song,” an Invocation of protection from and curse upon hypocrites and oppressors, accented with a “Toccotta and Fugue in D Minor”-style pipe organ. Upon the CD reaching that track I reset the stereo to repeat play mode, listening to “Doom Song” over and over until my boss showed up, at which point I opted for conversation. Once the chit-chat was over, I began to think back on the Plasmatics and how they would have most likely been swiftly forgotten had it not been for the presence of Wendy O Williams, a performer who would do just about anything onstage to entertain her audience.

I first heard of the Plasmatics in 1980 when they appeared on New York City's tepid afternoon talk show "Live at Five" and the visual of a scowling Wendy O, foot-high Mohawk proudly defying the staid sensibilities the usually boring chat show, being interviewed by NYC news mainstay Sue Simmons shocked my young mind. Williams was by no means attractive or pretty in the way that most female rockers had been before her, but she displayed a cold, clinical intelligence that Simmons did not expect her to possess, especially since Wendy O's infamous stage antics included her blowing up Cadillacs with dynamite, chainsawing brand new guitars in half, demolishing television sets with a sledgehammer, regularly going topless save for black electrical tape on her ninnies, and getting totally nekkid and covering herself with shaving cream, a fashion statement that inevitably melted and landed her in the hoosegow on more than one occasion.

Needless to say, such a crazed spirit greatly appealed to my adolescent misfit nature, so I went out the very next day and bought "New Hope For the Wretched" on vinyl, thereby ensuring my lifelong loyalty to hard rock chaos and occasional cacophony.

Over the years I saw many a Plasmatics video and even attended a Wendy O show when she went solo (as one of the headliners of a legendary all night show at the old Ritz in 1986 that featured Stormtroopers of Death, the Cro-Mags, Wendy O Williams, and Motorhead; when the show let out at 7AM I was drunk as hell, and even though I was smack dab in the middle of Manhattan's Lower East Side I could not hear a goddamned thing) and while I did not care for her post-Plasmatics output, I still enjoyed her persona.

Wendy O simultaneously flew in the face of and gloried in the hypersexuality of the woman rock star, her severe features and balls-out (or ovaries-out, if you prefer) ferocious attitude serving as a bizarre counterpoint to her sexy, athletic body that was on display as often as she could get away with it. Prowling about the stage like a werewolf in heat, howling with a growl or moan rather than anything resembling an actual singing voice, Williams' aspect was reminiscent of an utterly fearless, post-apocalyptic super-hero from a hellish, irradiated wasteland like that roamed by the painted and befeathered post-apocalyptic savage biker tribes seen in THE ROAD WARRIOR.

A tougher, scarier antithesis to the cock-rockers of the day, Williams was a fiercely defiant she-demon who not only knew she had a pussy, but knew how to use it (don't get me started on her skills involving her naughty bits and a bunch of ping pong balls), and if she wanted to mate, you’d damned well better be ready for it. Preaching physical carnage and destruction as catharsis, supplemented by a firm belief in going through one's existence with absolutely zero bullshit from oneself or those who sought to fuck over the individual spirit, Wendy O was a rock ‘n’ roll shaman. This metal priestess was a woman warrior bellowing her power at an audience of men too weak to even comprehend just what is assailing them, or exactly what it was they liked about being on the receiving end of such forceful aggression.

Then in 1998, Williams died in the woods near her home in Storrs, Connecticut of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at age 48. The reasons for her suicide remain obscure, though there are those who posit that she took her own life rather than compromise her art, while some of her intimates claim that she was "despondent" as she neared the end. Perhaps all that need be said can be found in this excerpt from her suicide note:

"I don't believe that people should take their own lives without deep and thoughtful reflection over a considerable period of time. I do believe strongly, however, that the right to do so is one of the most fundamental rights that anyone in a free society should have. For me much of the world makes no sense, but my feelings about what I am doing ring loud and clear to an inner ear and a place where there is no self, only calm."

I like to think that Wendy O's unquenchable spirit is dominating some inhospitable corner of the underworld, scaring the unholy shit out of whatever demonic forces there may be and showing them a thing or two about how to kick ass. But I also ponder who will step forth to take her place as the Number One, take-no-prisoners female voice in rock; after first hearing the Lunachicks' "Jerk of All Trades" album I though that distinction might go to their frontwoman, Theo Kogan (now heading Theo and the Skyscrapers), but she has mellowed considerably and her aural approach is far more cerebral (and even poetic) than Wendy O's (bear witness to "Mr. Lady" to see what I mean), so for the moment we faithful must be patient.

Friday, October 27, 2006


As the progress on organizing the Vault of Buncheness grinds on, I decided to tart up my fold-up futon in case osh-osh should happen in the foreseeable future. Along with my current focused state of mind comes a sense of good things looming on the horizon, and rather than subject some woman who's nice enough to share her time and body with me to my somewhat Spartan bachelor pad comforts, I'm erring on the side of the sensualist.

This is how my bed looked for the past couple of years. Basically a futon that folds up into a couch that was designed for the Frankenstein Monster's ergonomics (translation: the couch mode forces your spine into a position as rigid as an I-beam), it's comfy enough for me since I prefer a flat, firm matress. But with the inkling of femaleness permeating the ether, I went for soft, cushioned and comfy, with a hint of kitsch to keep it still kinda "Bunchely."

The first thing I did was run out and pick up new bedding, consigning the ageing covers to whatever homeless may wander by and adopt them. Keeping with the kitsch-yet-comfy motif, I snagged two animal print comforters (not visible in the photo), two yards of fake fur that looks like I skinned Rowlf the Muppet, and a fake fur throw that may be the softest, silkiest thing I've ever run my hands across. And all of that is thrown atop a huge, heavy comforter that feels as dense as lead when underneath it, but has a certain cushiony effect when lain upon. Seriously, the furry stuff feels terrific against skin, and I can't wait to roll about upon it, caveman-style, with the right willing Boadicea of the boudoir.

The atmosphere can be made a bit more "sacred" with a few well-chosen sticks of incensce; I'm a big fan of Frankincense and Myrrh, and sometimes those unknown flavors available in bulk at most Indian spice and sari establishments, but I suggest that you experiment to find what suits your space, both mentally and accomodation-wise.

And let us not forget a handy bottle built-for-two containing a kind "djinni" to make things truly transcendental. (Don't worry officer, it's a water pipe for tobacco...Yeah, that's it! Tobacco...)

Bottom line: make the lady comfy, and keep the place that way for yourself when she's not around. Such comfort can even make kicking back and enduring an episode of "The War At Home" palatable. Well...

Oh, and here's something decicated to the spirit of Hugh Hefner, and definitely for the ladies. Yeah, I'm friggin' hot...
(And there go the last vestiges of female heterosexuality, and here comes my new fan base of "bears.")

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Of the many pop culture obsessions that I go on about through this blog, I have surprisingly given short shrift to the Monty Python gang. I absolutle fucking love them like I love no other humorists — except for Richard Pryor, but his stuff is a different matter entirely — and will discuss them at some other time. But today I just learned that my favorite surviving Python, Terry "the Welsh one" Jones, is recovering from colon cancer. He issued the following statement to the press:

"Unfortunately, my illness is not nearly bad enough to sell many newspapers, and the prognosis is even more disappointing."

And here's what the news had to say on this:

from Ireland Online-
Python star Jones undergoes cancer surgery

24/10/2006 - 16:40:31

Monty Python star Terry Jones has undergone surgery for colon cancer. The 64-year-old was "in good spirits and the operation went very well", according to his agent Jodi Shields. She says: "Terry's doctors are very cheered with an early diagnosis of possible colon cancer for which he has now had routine surgery in a London private hospital. "He is in high spirits and very pleased that the doctors say they have caught it early.

The comedian was told he had cancer only days before the opening of the Spamalot musical in London last Tuesday, which is based on the classic MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL film. Despite the diagnosis, Jones was able to attend the premiere with the original cast, which included Michael Palin, Eric Idle and Terry Gilliam.

And if any of you would care to wish Terry well, you can write to him at and all emails will be printed and presented to him. I wrote mine just minutes ago, so show some love, assmunches!

Monday, October 23, 2006


Over the years, thanks to the various jobs I've held, I have run into many celebrities and of course had to get my lovely visage photographed with them. It's fun in a surreal way to encounter the faces behind the music, literature, or whatever floats your boat, rendering its creators just as real as you are yourself. Here's the first batch of my real life pics with the famous, some known to the general public, others known to those like me who have an interest in fringy oddness.

Here's a shot of me with John Romita and his wife, Virginia, taken at last March's disastrous Javits Center convention. I worked with both of them for nearly nine years during my days in the Marvel Comics Bullpen, Virginia being my boss, while John headed up the art department. For those who have no idea who John is, he's one of the living legends in the American comics biz, a gifted illustrator who rocketed to four-color immortality when he took over THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN when original artist Steve Ditko left in the mid-1960's. The guy can draw his ass off, and among too many others to name, he designed the Punisher, the X-Men's Wolverine (for his first appearance as an adversary for the Incredible Hulk over thirty years ago), the famous black catsuit sported by the Black Widow, and perhaps most importantly, drew the immortal scene where Peter Parker first sees Mary Jane Watson face-to-face, a scene featured on this very blog less than two weeks ago. A true sweetheart in every way, John is one of the very few people in the biz that absolutely no one has anythinhg negative to say about, and that is rarer than tits on a trout. And the distinguished-looking guy standing behind us is none other than Jim Steranko, the guy who single-handedly turned comics art upside down with his unprecedented design stylings and psychedelic artwork when he took over the pencilling chores on Marvel's super-spy saga NICK FURY, AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Meeting him was a real treat, and he was funny as hell when relating his time working for the company, but what shocked the hell out of me upon meeting him was noticing that I was staring into the very face he used as the model for Nick Fury.

Every once in a while the strange zeitgeist of the barbecue joint throws me a curveball that even I can't see coming, and I was completely broadsided when one of the guests at a birthday party we hosted turned out to be none other than Danny Lilker, bass player for the seminal thrash band Stormtroopers of Death. As I was coming out of the kitchen with two trays of food, I almost dropped the meals when I recognized him. I introduced myself, told him how much I loved the "Speak English or Die" album, and soon we were chatting about a whole lot of stuff. By the time this shot was taken we were both well on our way to the Land of the Wrecked. Nice guy, too!

Over the years, I have seen the comedy metal band Gwar many times, so many that the members recognize me from my front and center position in the pit at their shows. About seven years ago I was visiting a friend in Atlanta and when we attended the Dragon Con for that year I was surprised to see that the gang from Gwar had set up a booth at the show. I heard a voice shout out, "Hey! Light-skinned Black guy from New York!" and I turned to see the guy who plays Techno Destructo, an enemy of the "heroic" Gwar characters, waving like a madman. Being one of the few Black folk who attend their shows, I was already somewhat easy to remember, but what really cemented their recognition and good will was the act of returning the lead singer's mic when it was knocked out of hand during a particularly spirited rendition of "Salaminizer;" in a rare moment of almost sportslike coordination, I plucked the microphone from midair and braved my way to the stage, shoving the thing into the singer's hand. He waved his thanks, and continued the show, then directed the effects guys to shower me with an extra-special helping of the band's patented stage blood. I was soaked to the skin in a show of appreciation, and the interior of that particular leather jacket is still stained red. Anyway, Techno and I exchanged pleasantries, and then he invited me to try on a couple of the band's stage costumes. There was no way I would have refused, and I soon found myself in the gear for Beefcake the Mighty, and Balsac, the Jaws of Death.

Lemme tell ya, the shit is fucking heavy!

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Ben Grimm. The Thing. Inarguably one of the greatest of American super-heroes. If you don't know who he is I urge you to look up his name on the Wikipedia, or google the Fantastic Four. I intend to get around to writing a comprehensive look at the ten greatest American super-heroes (in my humble opinion), but for now let it suffice to say that Jack Kirby designed him back in 1961, provided the definitive look for the character on the cover and splash page for FANTASTIC FOUR #51, and nearly twenty years later the wunderkind of UNCANNY X-MEN renown, John Byrne, took over the book and gave it its greatest run after its creators left.

Basing his Ben on the Kirby template and giving it a few sensible tweaks, Byrne provided readers with a cut-and-dried model sheet for how to draw a character that many find difficult because of the quirks of his anatomy that simply are not human, and his seemingly-impossible-to-keep-consistent pattern of plates/rocky skin. So break out your pencils, boys and girls, and channel your inner Kirby. To paraphrase Mama Grimm's blue-eyed baby boy, "It's Drawin' Time!"

Thursday, October 19, 2006


The southern end of the Vault, pre-uncluttering.

The one aspect of my newfound resolve that has filled me with a Stygian dread is the task of uncluttering my studio apartment, or, as I like to call it, the Augean Stables of Park Slope.

For those who may not have twiggged to the mythological analogy in that one, during the twelve labors of Heracles — or Hercules for those of you who prefer the Roman version and therefore don't care about the irony of his real name...oh, just look it up! — one of his assignments was to muck out the Augean stables, a series of barnyards that had not been cleaned in years, resulting in piles of doody that stood as high as mountains. Heracles accomplished this impossible feat by using his superhuman strength to change the course of two rivers and wash the place out in no time, after which he resumed his other labors, hung out with Jason and the Argonauts — and his cute boyfriend, Hylas; again, look it up! — and eventually moved to Mount Olympus to hang out with the Pantheon for the rest of eternity.

Well, I do not have the benefit of living in the days of ancient heroes or being a demigod clad in the skin of a lion, there's no river to run out of my second story window, and there's definitely no chance of me hanging out with a bunch of sweaty, hairy sailors — with my cute boyfriend, Dean Cain — so the labor of cleaning out the mountain range of boxes, books, DVDs, video tapes and the gods know what else is going to be an utterly mundane and tedious chore, notably lacking the glory won by Zeus' most famous bastard son.

I'm a pathological pack rat, and I have massive trouble throwing out anything that isn't garbage, so this is really nerve-wracking for me. I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and not overexamine each and every object that's going to get chucked, keeping only that which must stay, and relegating the sellable bits to good old eBay, so wish me luck.


I've been in a terrific mood for the past week, and my mind has been overwhelmed with matters of osh-osh. Everywhere I look I seem to see sexy stuff where there really isn't any, and cold showers can only work for so long. For example, take a look at this conch shell owned by a friend I visited in Queens the other day:

If I didn't know bettter I'd swear it was a still from one of the greatest works in the history of American "at home" cinema, namely EIGHTEEEN AND NASTY - VOLUME 10. I know it's just a shell, but I'm tempted to kiss it...

Okay, I have officially lost my mind.


The couple in this picture are one Zachary Bowen and Adriene "Addie" Hall, and the story below is from the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

By Walt Philbin, Steve Ritea and Trymaine Lee
Staff writers

Zackery Bowen walked up the ledge, looked over, then turned around and walked back. A surveillance camera trained on the eighth floor at the poolside bar in the Omni Royal Orleans caught Bowen, 28, repeating the action, over and over, apparently hesitating as he prepared for one final, horrific act.

His descent into darkness began more than two weeks ago, police and associates said, when he murdered his girlfriend, 30-year-old Adriane “Addie” Hall, strangling her in their one-bedroom apartment over a French Quarter voodoo shop. Bowen killed his girlfriend of more than a year without a tinge of remorse, according to a suicide note he carried in his right front pocket, in a plastic bag, for police to find on his corpse.

Bowen left a second, rambling letter in the couple’s apartment, a graphic narrative scrawled of the his murder and descretion of Hall’s body, scrawled on eight small pages of his girlfriend’s journal. That letter, along with interviews with police investigators and the couple’s friends and co-workers in the French Quarter and Faubourg Marigny, tell a sordid tale of extreme highs and lows, starting with a Katrina-inspired love affair and ending in among the most gruesome slayings in the city’s history. In the letter, Bowen confessed that for almost two weeks after the killing he continued to live with the corpse of the woman who had repeatedly proclaimed her love for him. In those final days, driven by an accelerating madness, underpinned by unrelenting fury and self-loathing, he dismembered her corpse — baking her limbs in the oven and cooking her head in a pot on the stove, police said — until he decided to methodically end his own life.

Bowen had planned every detail before heading to the hotel bar Tuesday night, except, perhaps, for the hestitation he faced on the ledge. The hotel security tape, described in an interview with police sources, shows him struggling to muscle up the courage. Up to the railing, then back. Up again, then back. Just before 8:30 p.m., he did it, leaping to his death on the street down below.

“I just find it so hard to believe,” said Caryn Lott, owner of Buffa’s, the French Quarter outpost where he had tended bar. “I’d be willing to bet it was something in his past...something that was underneath. I just don’t think we looked far enough.”


Much of Bowen’s past remains a mystery, only known by the painful details he leaked out to his friends in New Orleans. He ends the letter with a list of his “failures — school, jobs, military, marriage, parenthood, morals, love.” “Every last one of these I failed at,” he wrote. “Hence the 28 cigarette burns” — 13 on each arm two on his chest — one for each year of my existance (sic).”

Friends said he grew up in Los Angeles, but the details that drove him to inflict those burns into his flesh are few. Before meeting Hall, he had been married and had two children, a girl and a boy, said Louis Matassa, who later hired Bowen to make deliveries for his French Quarter grocery.

Lott recalled how Bowen claimed he had served in the military. Efforts to confirm his military service were unsuccessful Wednesday.

Though typically gregarious, Bowen’s demeanor took a dive when he talked about that part of his life, often after several rounds of Miller High Life and shots of Jameson Irish Whiskey, his drinks of choice. He would grow angry and distraught, Lott said, talking of how the government “messed him over,” referring to his military service, which he told friends included stints in Iraq and Bosnia. While he sometimes spoke of that service with pride, somewhere overseas there had been an incident concerning a child that weighed heavy on him, said Donovan Calabaza, another bartender at Buffa’s, “but we really didn’t get into it.”

Lott didn’t like it when he talked about the military. “How ‘bout them Saints?” Lott would say, trying to move him onto a lighter topic.

Hall’s life carried its own burdens. Friends said she grew up in Pennsylvania, though they had few other details of her past. Calabaza said he and Hall occasionally shared details about their similar childhood traumas. She and Bowen fell in love the night Hurricane Katrina struck, said former mayoral candidate Leo Watermeier, who would later rent them their last apartment on N. Rampart Street, relaying the story they told him.

Blond and petite, Hall harbored an intense attraction to Bowen, a tall, strapping man with a magnetic personality. Lott said she hired him as “a little eye candy for the ladies.” They visited each other at the bars where each of them worked — she visiting him at Buffa’s, he visiting her at The Spotted Cat in the Faubourg Marigny.

Sometimes he took advantage of his looks at her expense, associates who knew the couple said, flirting or even making out with other women. Their relationship veered between highs and lows, but “she loved that guy,” said Eura Jones, who worked with Hall at The Spotted Cat. “She really loved him.” When the blaring music at Buffa’s drowned out their conversation, they wrote love notes to each other, Calabaza said.


In the weeks after the storm, they became French Quarter icons, some of the last holdouts who resisted calls from the mayor and the military to leave the city. They peacefully resisted, inventing a new brand of post-disaster bohemianism. They became inventors by necessity, fashioning a fly swatter from a pair of plastic plates taped onto a wire hanger. He fashioned a stove of sorts out of a metal bucket packed with felled branches and covered with an old barbeque grill.

In the afternoons, they sat on the stoop of their powerless Gov. Nicholls Street apartment, getting their news from neighbors and passers-by, often offering them cocktails. Bowen usually went shirtless in those humid weeks after the storm. Hall wore a tank top, lovingly stroking stray cats that sauntered up to where she and Bowen sat, sharing cigarettes. “It’s actually been kind of nice,” Bowen said in those first weeks after the storm. “And I’m getting healthier, eating right and toning up.” “We’ve been able to see the stars for the first time,” Hall said. “Before, this was a 24-hour lit city. Now it’s peaceful.”

Both working as bartenders at the time, Hall and Bowen were flush with booze and beer, sometimes trading it for water and ice when they couldn’t get enough from the Salvation Army. They got a three months’ supply of food, mostly canned, when a local grocer opened his doors and invited people to peacefully take what they want, rather than face the destruction caused by looters. Hall devised a provocative way to lure police protection to their neighborhood. The New York Times described her habit of flashing her breasts at passing police cars to make sure their house got routine patrols. But as the year wore on and life began to stabilize in New Orleans, their relationship began to fall apart.

Several months ago, Hall failed to show up for work — distraught by a brief breakup with Bowen. He also disappeared from his jobs at Buffa’s and making deliveries for Matassa’s. They would reuinite, but only for a time, friends said, before his downward spiral into madness took hold. “It was a revolving door,” said Lisa Perilloux, a regular at Buffa’s. One night in particular, she was seen screaming at him from Buffa’s doorway as he stood in the street, Perilloux said. “He was getting rid of her,” Perilloux said, who said she never heard him say anything nice about Hall.

While Bowen struggled with his own demons, Hall had her own moments of instability. Friends describe her as having at-times a frightening mean streak. She was arrested on Aug. 14 after pulling a gun on a man at a French Quarter corner early in the morning. According to the police report, Hall pointed a “blue steel” handgun at the man and said, “What the (expletive) is wrong with you?” As the man called the police, Hall ran to her apartment on Gov. Nicholls, where officers found her changed out of blue jeans and T-shirt and into a nightgown. At the apartment, officers found the gun, along with a bag of what police believed to be marijuana and two pipes. The man identified Hall as the woman who pulled a gun on him, according to the police reports. Hall was booked with aggravated assault with a firearm, first offense possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. The morning of Sept. 28, police again arrived at the Gov. Nicholls apartment, responding to a call about a disturbance, according to a police report. They found Bowen on the stoop of the apartment. Upon spotting the officers, Bowen got up and dropped an object that turned out to be a clear plastic bag of marijuana, according to the report. He was booked with first offense possession of marijuana.


Even as they were falling apart as a couple, Jones said they faced more stress when they were evicted from the Gov. Nicholls apartment around the time of Bowen’s arrest. Hall also disappeared permanently from her job at The Spotted Cat around that time. “I had a feeling something was seriously wrong,” said Ed Parrish, The Spotted Cat’s co-owner.

Around Oct. 1, they rented an apartment from Watermeier at 826 N. Rampart Street, above the Voodoo Spiritual Temple and Cultural Center.But a few days later, they were fighting again — this time over which of their names would appear on the lease. Hall told Watermeier she was going to kick Bowen out. He had been cheating on her, Watermeier said, and she had had enough.

No one ever saw her again.

On Oct. 6, a day after Bowen said he killed Hall, he wrote in his confession that he was “posed with the question of how to dispose of the corpse,” he wrote. He continued that he passed out after drinking, went to work at Matassa’s, all day long devising a plan that involved cooking her body.

It was during the days of methodically dismembering her body that Bowen said he decided to kill himself after one final blowout — “spend(ing) the $1,500 I had being happy until I killed myself...So that’s what I did: good food, good drugs, good strippers, good friends and any loose ends I may have had...And had a fantastic time living out my days.” Voodoo Priestess Miriam Chamani, who runs the center, said she last saw Bowen Saturday morning as he was walking back into the apartment.

Last Sunday, Bowen appeared “all jolly,” Preilloux said, as he quaffed beer and shot Irish whiskey at Buffa’s. “He was (in) a great mood, best mood I’ve ever seen him in,” she said. Calabaza quoted him saying he would take a “much-needed vacation” — to Cozumel or some other island resort.

Two nights before Bowen lept to his death, Kalabaza recalled telling Bowen: “Just think, tomorrow night, you’ll be in paradise.”

Steve Ritea can be reached at or by calling (504) 826-3396. Trymaine Lee can be reached at or by calling (504) 826-3301. Staff writer Laura Maggi contributed to this report

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Back when MTV ran music videos — remenber those days? — every now and then they'd run a video for a heavy metal song, more often than not some pathetic hair band who looked like a bunch of chicks, but occasionally you'd see something by Slayer or Motorhead. What I want to know is what they would have done with so-called Death Metal; the lyrics are usually ultra-offensive and sound like they're being sung by the Cookie Monster, and the stuff just cracks me up. That said, just imagine what the video for this song would be like:

FECAL FREAK by Regurgitate (from the album "Carnivorous Erection")

Wine and dine her in a romantic fashion
Meet her parents and make a good impression
All her friends see me as the man of their dreams
What they don't see is my lust for the obscene

She first finds out on our wedding night
I gently disrobe her from her gown of white
I lift her thin veil with the utmost care
Then without warning I smear shit in her hair

She bites and claws with no avail
It's too late for a reason, I'm overcome by the smell
She used to think I was the man of her dreams
But my only true love is that of the obscene

Britney Spears it ain't!


As today is National Love Your Body Day and the name of the day can be open to interpretation, I decided to love your womanly bodies (I'm using the collective "your" for all of womanhood) and peruse the indispensible coffetable tome THE PLAYMATE BOOK, a mouthwatering compilation of every single PLAYBOY centerfold from the first issue through the book's publication date. Sadly, my boner was harshed when I turned on my TV for the morning news reports and New York 1 News got to their "In The Papers" section, reporting the untimely demise of Michelle Urry, cartoon editor for PLAYBOY since the early 1970's, a woman gifted with a great sense of humor and an eye for stellar cartooning talent. I have loved the cartoons in the magazine for just over three decades, both in terms of art and concepts, and without Urry we would probably never have seen such quality work. HUSTLER HUMOR it wasn't, and for that the PLAYBOY audience was grateful, adding further fuel to our oft-cited excuse of reading the skin mag for its articles and sundries, and not the unclad cuties that were the real selling point.

So, on behalf of a genration of PLAYBOY fans, I would like to bid you good rest, Mrs. Urry. You had exceptional taste, and from all accounts were a cool person, and I'm sorry I never got to meet you.

Here's what the New Yok Times had to say on this:

Michelle Urry, 66, the Editor of Cartoons for Playboy, Dies


Published: October 18, 2006

Michelle Urry, who brought a wicked sense of humor, an uncanny ability to nurture eccentric artists and what she called an “inordinately dirty mind” to her position as cartoons editor of Playboy magazine, died on Sunday at her home in Manhattan. She was 66.

The cause was an ocular melanoma, a cancer of the eye, said her daughter-in-law, Justine Rosenthal.

For a generation — from the early 1970’s until her death — Ms. Urry sorted through more than 1,000 cartoons a week to come up with the couple of dozen or so to appear in the monthly magazine, then sent them on to Hugh Hefner for the final selection. Her taste — seasoned by a girlhood of reading comic books, the careful study of the history of cartoons and experience as a fashion designer — helped shape the famous look of Playboy’s cartoons.

Brian Walker, curator of a 1984 exhibition of Playboy cartoons at the Museum of Cartoon Art in Rye Brook, N.Y., wrote that “perhaps with the exception of The New Yorker, Playboy has been the only publication to maintain excellence in the field.”

Playboy’s cartoons were certainly sexier than The New Yorker’s, but they also reflected a cheekier, more anti-establishment sensibility that Mr. Hefner has said presaged and reflected the sexual revolution of the 1960’s and 70’s. Ms. Urry assembled a worldwide stable of artists who captured this worldview.

In an interview yesterday, Mr. Hefner said that occasionally Ms. Urry would persuade him to use a cartoon he had initially rejected. He also praised her ability to communicate with cartoonists, whose artistic egos often needed massaging.

The cartoonist Jules Feiffer, in another interview yesterday, said Ms. Urry was a “mother superior to cartoonists.”

Lee Lorenz, the longtime cartoon editor of The New Yorker, recalled the famous poker parties for cartoonists she held in her loft and the cartoonists’ Christmas parties at Playboy headquarters. He praised her ability to choose work that reflected Playboy’s mission.

Michelle Dorothy Kaplan was born on Dec. 28, 1939, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where her father was a clothing manufacturer. She said in an interview with The New York Times in 1995 that instead of dolls she had a huge comic-book collection. After graduating from the University of California at Los Angeles, where she studied English, she opened a dress shop where she sold her own designs.

She sold the shop and moved to New York, but hated it and moved to Chicago, where a friend suggested she might find design work at Playboy.

Instead, she was offered a secretarial job, which she angrily rejected. A few days later, she was offered a job she remembered as “an assistant something,” with the promise that in six months she could be an editor. The job was “bunny department assistant,” although she was never a bunny, Ms. Rosenthal said.

Not satisfied, she transferred to answering phones at the Playboy mansion, and eventually Mr. Hefner asked her to be his assistant on cartoons, with the understanding that she might become cartoon editor in a year.

She did, although she said in an interview with The National Observer in 1971 that the job “had some onus attached to it”: her predecessor had been a girlfriend of Mr. Hefner’s, and gossip was inevitable. However, Ms. Urry said, she quickly demonstrated an indisputable knack for the work.

“The fact that I brought to it an inordinately dirty mind was my own doing — I mean, I don’t think he expected that kind of bonus,” she said. She also learned that appreciation of humor is almost instinctual. She told The National Observer that when people brought intellect to humor, the enjoyment was lost.

In the 1970’s, it was cause for comment that Ms. Urry was working for Playboy despite her outspoken feminist beliefs. But she stoutly defended her magazine for backing feminist goals like access to abortion. She said that women posed nude to further their careers: “No one ever coerced anybody to take their clothes off,” she said in an interview with The Los Angeles Times in 1971.

Ms. Urry’s first husband, Steven Urry, a sculptor, died in 1993. She is survived by her husband, Alan R. Trustman, a screenwriter, and a son, Caleb Urry.

One of Ms. Urry’s big successes came from a visit to B. Kliban in his San Francisco studio in the 1970’s. She bought six cartoons involving cats for $25, and urged Mr. Kliban to do a book. He became famous for his cat cartoons.

She once said her goal was to prod readers to think about something familiar in a different way. One cartoon she selected, by Chon Day, showed a gentleman in a club remarking, “While other fellows were swapping wives, I traded mine for 100 shares of I.B.M.”

Sunday, October 15, 2006


When I first heard about this I said to myself, "They've gotta be fucking kidding! Is Hollywood so utterly bankrupt of ideas?" Well, apparently this isn't a gag, and considering how much I laughed my ass off at ROCKYs 3 through 5, I will probably see this at a bargain matinee.

At least they didn't call it ROCKY 6... ROCKY 60 more like.

And I just found out that RAMBO IV is in pre-production for a 2008 release. Sly, I beg of you, STOP THE MADNESS!!!

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Some of you have recently asked me for this one, so here you go.


Chicken (I prefer legs, thighs and wings because they stay juicy)
Liquid smoke
Salt & pepper, or whatever seasonings you prefer
Cheap barebecue sauce
Garlic powder (I prefer Badia brand)
Brown/Deli mustard (Gulden's or Nathan's both rock)
Hot sauce (optional)

Place chicken in a deep baking pan (go with the cheap tinfoil variety to save yourself a cleanup nightmare) and splash with liquid smoke; a little of this goes a long way, so don't overapply it. Once the liquid smoke has been allowed to sit on the chicken for about twenty minutes, pour it off. Next, season the chicken to taste with salt and pepper or whatever seasonings you prefer. NOTE: do not use marinated chicken for this dish; the real flavor of this comes from the sauce and a marinade will clash with the taste. Cover chicken with tinfoil and seal tightly. Put into an oven that has been heated to 350 degrees for two hours.

Take as much cheap barbecue sauce as you may need and put it into a big pot; blend in honey and mustard to taste and add a huge motherfucking shitload of garlic powder. Blend until somewhat smooth but thick, and keep in mind that the flavor should be sweet and garlicky. At this point it's up to you to add hot sauce if you want a bit of a kick to the concoction. If you want that flavor I recommend Indi-Pep West Indian pepper sauce, but you use what you like (except for the green Emeril sauce; it's tasty but it will throw off the color).

Remove chicken from the oven and pour off any juices. Once juices are poured off, add sauce. Seal tightly with foil and return chicken to the oven for another hour or until as tender as you like.

This same procedure also works for ribs, pork and beef, although for those I recommend a longer cooking time, perhaps a total of four hours. That time will guarantee the meat being tender enough to fall off the bone.



Fans of the Golden Age of comics are no doubt familiar with this infamous cover from WWII:

But how many of you fellow comics historians/geeks remember Captain Marvel's pal, Steamboat?

Nowadays forgotten, Steamboat was one of many black supporting characters of the time, a group perhaps best exemplified by Ebony from Will Eisner's THE SPIRIT (see below)

and occasionally ludicrously-named, like Whitewash Jones from THE YOUNG ALLIES (see below)

, most falling into the visual mold established by minstrel performers in the previous century.

Now that DC is yet again relaunching Captain marvel and the other wielders of the powers of SHAZAM, it would be interesting to see Steamboat return, perhaps substituting a loudly bellowed "GAWDAMN!!!" instead of the traditional magic word.

Steamboat with Billy Batson,Captain Marvel's alter-ego.

They'd have to lose the Al Jolson look, though.


Whenever I get the chance, I burn CD compilations of oddball music samplers, party mixes, and essential collections/retrospectives of various artists, all culled from the Vault's voluminous record/CD library. Up next to be burned are essential sets of the B-52's, Oingo-Boingo, and the Dickies, but my pet project that I really need to get off my ass and put together is my dream collection of favorite old school rap and hip-hop tunes.

While I love all kinds of music and classify myself mostly as a metal/oldies/punk/surf/weirdness goon, I listened to a lot of rap and hip-hop from 1984 through the early 1990's, mostly stuff recommended by my friends who grew up in New York City, so they knew what they were talking about. (During those all-important adolescent years of figuring out one's own musical loves, my hometown was mostly a shrine to what would later become known as "classic rock," with little or no rap/hip-hop/dance stuff to be found, being as lily-white as it was.) That said, I have pretty much despised the genre since gangsta rap reared its ugly head and the beats slowed down to the point where I thought the record may have been played at the wrong speed, so while I love music in any genre that makes me move, slow hip-hop just gives me agita. The track list below contains the pieces from back in the day that immediately spring to mind when I think of my favorites, so if you're unfamiliar with any of these I very strongly urge you to check them out.

And when this disc is completed it will be dedicated to the four people who most heavily influenced my tastes in such matters, namely Steve "Senter" Hughes, Nicole and Jennifer Vandestienne (the lovely twins of evil), and of course Adam "Mister Fun" Cataldo. If you can't dance to this batch of tunes, look for a fucking toe tag.

BEATS TO THE RHYME: MY ULTIMATE OLD SCHOOL HIP-HOP DISC (playlist order to be determined)

SET IT OFF-Big Daddy Kane
I'LL TAKE YOUR MAN-Salt 'n' Pepa
BUST A MOVE-Young MC (yeah, I know this one was a pop go-to back in the day, but the groove is undeniable)
RATED R-Boo Yaa Tribe
ME MYSELF AND I (extended version)-De La Soul
RAPPER'S DELIGHT (long version)-Sugarhill Gang
JIMBROWSKI-The Jungle Brothers
JIMMY-Boogie Down Productions
SUPER HOE-Boogie Down Productions
LA DI DA DI-Slick Rick
TREAT HER LIKE A PROSTITUTE-Slick Rick  (Nowhere near as offensive as it sounds, and it's quite humorous)
THAT'S THE JOINT-Funky 4 + 1
THE ADVENTURES OF GRANDMASTER FLASH ON THE WHEELS OF STEEL-Grandmaster Flash  (the definitive tour de force in the art form of sampling)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK-Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five
HISTORY OF HIP-HOP MIX: LESSON 3-Double Dee & Steinski

Friday, October 13, 2006


Sometimes life is truly fantastic, and the goddesses smile upon a lowly entertainment ronin such as yours truly.

Over the years I've read the classic you-finally-get-to-see-her-face first appearance of Mary Jane Watson countless times and cracked up at Peter (Spider-Man) Parker's gobsmacked reaction to finally meeting her face-to-face, but I never imagined that I would find myself in a similar situation. As of last night I fully understand his amazement at a goddess walking through the door. YOWZA! Or should I say,"Holy Manoli!" And that's all I have to say on this for now...

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Yours truly, Christmas Day 1970.

When I was little I LOVED bath time, that too brief piece of my busy kid's day when I could be in water and play with my cool water-related toys (I'm a Cancer; put me in water and you'll have a hard time getting me out). Some kids had their rubber duckies, others their plastic tugboats and seaplanes with a motorized propeller, but I favored sea monsters and sci-fi vehicles. I'm sure that comes as a shock to you.

I had an assortment of plastic fish, frogmen and sharks for realism — the featured "extras" in my waterplays — and a plastic ship or two, even a fully-loaded Noah's Ark, and the boats would of course be attacked by a multitude of deep sea creatures. Sometimes the antagonists would be giant sharks with hungry maws agape, other times they would be aliens from inner space who were striking back against mankind for harming their aquatic environment, and every now and then I'd break out a large rubber octopus, a wiggly black horror, and have it kick ass on orders from its equally tentacled masters. (By this point, the comics geeks among you may have detected a distinct Sub-Mariner influence, and you'd be dead right. )

Anyway, when shit got too thick for the surface-dwellers, The President (always nameless and unseen) would send out the most powerful submarine in its super-scientific arsenal, the Seaview (of VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA fame), and the battles would be fierce, complete with waves splashing out of the tub, much to my harried mother's dismay. Once in a while the Seaview would save the world, but where's the fun in that? More often than not these scenarios would culminate in the utter decimation of the surface forces (providing the endings I always wanted in the Godzilla movies), and once I was dried off the action would spread to my room and the cityscape built from blocks, Tinkertoys, Legos and Lincoln logs, and the carnage only escalated as space aliens, revived dinosaurs and giant robots got into the act of literal/imaginary world-beating ("King Ding" was my favorite among the giant robot bruiser brigade). I'm tellin' ya, those were good times.

Looking back on all of this from the perspective of an avid toy collector, I wish I still had my favorite playthings from my bathtub "movies," for reasons of sentiment, and because some of my faves have become some of the rarest toys out there.

In the late 1960's, Colorforms — a company best known for those sets of flat plastic characters that could endlessly be rearranged on backgrounds that they would stick to —issued a series called THE OUTER SPACE MEN, a stunning group of alien characters meant to compete with Mattel's impressive MAJOR MATT MASON line of beautifully detailed space toys. These figures were "bendies," rubber molded over a wire armature, and I preferred them most other toys because they were fleshy, betraying no seams where joints would have been plainly visible on dolls (yeah, I said it!) like G.I. Joe and Captain Action. Each of the Outer Space Men hailed from one of the planets in our solar system — Terra being the notable exception, but I guess that was covered by Major Matt Mason and his crew of Earthling colleagues — and all were colorful and equipped with helmets or weaponry which inevitably got lost.

My favorite of the lot was Astro-Nautilus,"the man from Neptune," a majestic sea creature with a human torso and legs, surmounted with four tentacles that coiled about a trident which I imagined as both a symbol of leadership and as some kind of energy-projecting weapon.

Whoever came up with the concept for the character must have had a clue that the toy would appeal to the youngster who loved monsters and sci-fi adventures, as well as idolizing Jacques Cousteau. Check out the copy from the back of the packaging:

"Deep beneath the stormy seas of Neptune, great cities loom majestically in the shimmering twilight of a vast and beautiful water world. Here the mighty Triton people live. Not content to see the sun as but a glimmer and the stars as tiny ripples floating on the surface of the sea above, Astro-Nautilus and his band of Triton mariners venture forth to sail and chart that greater ocean, Outer Space. Often visiting our planet they land, secretly, without all human knowledge, in the very depths of Earth’s great oceans."

How the hell could a kid like me not fall instantly in love with such a gorgeous extraterrestrial?

For Astro-Nautilus' point man in striking back against the air-breathers, my choice always went to Kretor, the green half of the Kretor and Zark set from the SEA DEVILS line (that's Zark that I'm playing with in the photo at the top of this post), an undersea sister to the Matt Mason toys, also produced by Mattel.

Shark-man Kretor, in his modesty-preserving swim trunks.

Billed as the leader of the Sharkmen (whoever the hell they were) I favored Kretor for his being the obvious choice as a Sub-Mariner stand-in; he pretty much was just like Subby, what with his swim trunks and pointed ears, but he differed from the Sub-Mariner by being bright green, somewhat scaly, and having large webbed hands and feet. In my bathtub scenarios, he'd usually enter the narrative by being out in the middle of the ocean somewhere, engaging in tests of strength and getting into wrasslin' matches with giant sharks or octopi, when Astro-Nautilus would show up and ask him to help in kicking the navy out of the ocean in general. Then it was on, motherfuckers!

Meanwhile, the US Navy had the mighty Seaview at its disposal, and that was nothing to sneeze at!

As a fan of the VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA TV series, I saw the crew of that sub take on a staggering amount of undersea monsters, so they were the obvious choice to attempt to handle the forces from the depths. Plus, the toy actually fired a missile, so that added to the overall drama.

And these toys that I've just shown you? Astro-Nautilus in mint condition is a very expensive collector's item; if you can find one out of the packaging, even minus the trident, expect to pay at least five or six-hundred bucks up front, and the one time I saw it mint in the packaging it went for two grand. The Seaview was on eBay a while back and the then-current bid was around sixty bucks when last I looked, so that's reasonable. But Kretor... I had attempted to find any info or even a picture of him online for years, coming up with nothing but a name, and then I looked under SEA DEVILS on eBay once and there he was. No joke, he's one of the rarest toys out there, and the auction that had him was the first time I'd seen a Kretor — to say nothing of his companion toy, Zark — in thirty-six years. I looked into bidding on him, but was stopped in my tracks by the then-current bid price, namely $150. Too rich for my blood, but maybe someday I'll find one again.


One of the less explored realms of comics is the twilight zone of truly ludicrous four color madness. Every now and then I come across something worth sharing, so let's get the ball rolling with three classics.

The oft-cited LOIS LANE #106 is a good place for the layman to start. I mean, how can you not a love a story wherein Lois becomes Black? Trite and preachy to a nauseating degree, this story even features a scene of Lois crying her eyes out, distraught over whether Superman would love her if she couldn't be White again; I always wanted to see Superman destroy the Blackatizing machine, and admit to a super case of Jungle Fever!

The only way this cover could have been worse is if it had been on an issue of HONCHO.

Is it just me, or is this possibly the most offensive comic book of all time? I have GOT to own a copy!!!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Over the years, my purchasing of martial arts weaponry has dropped off to pretty much nil since I have settled on a handful of favorite pieces, some of which have been with me for over twenty years. There are a couple of pairs of nunchaku that have sentimental value as well as possession an "action" that feels like they are a part of me, and the other items left in my armory include a variety of bamboo and wooden practice swords, a sword-cane, a South American blade that's more of a machete than a sword, a couple of sticks for Kali/Escrima, two lovely rattan poles that are lightweight, therefore facilitating speed and flexible enough to allow the user to slap an opponent across the gob with the flick of a wrist.

But these days I am inclined to start collecting again, especially now that I've found CAS/Hanwei, a high-end weaponry company that manufactures beautiful replicas of items from around the world,replicas that can be take the punishment of actual competition and are actually sharp.

The two items that top my wish list are this beautiful Japanese yari, basically a straight spear and long a mainstay among the samurai foot soldiers:

But the pole arm that really gets me going is this orgasmically lovely naginata, favored by warrior monks and samurai women who guarded castles, these brutal motherfuckers lopped the legs off of both man and horse alike:

But my acquisition of these beauties will have to wait for the foreseeable future; the yari costs $479, and the naginata tantalizes me at the hefty sum of $699, and as I intend to go to the San Diego Comicon this year, these "toys" will have to wait.

But then again, Christmas and my birthday are both looming, so go to and spend shitloads of cash on my beige ass!!!


If you're a comics geek, there has to be some part of you that has at some point said, "Golly willikers, I wish I had a Green Lantern ring..." Well,go to for step-by-step instructions on how to make one of your very own!