Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Another Year - Another Christmas Vexations

It's another year and another Yule season is upon us, so I have gone ahead and re-released Have a Merry Vexing Christmas back to print. You can read more about this at the Mill Avenue Vexations website.

For those so inclined to actually collect these, it is also available at the Vexations web store.

This marks the second annual printing of this particular story. The cover is new. It's the same one done by my favorite cover artist, Luis Boisvert, but involves different lettering and the logo that was created for this series.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Mill Avenue Nights: December 16th

Today, during my visit to the Ave, I received a gift from Dusty—one of the street preachers, a girl raver turned Born-Again—in the form of a faux leatherbound book, filled with lined pages, blank and thirsty for writing. While I often carry a small book in my pocket, the large one may tend to be an issue for me, but I believe that I can use it for the sake of the gift.

Dusty speaks with the adoring fervor of all Born-Again types, but it seems somewhat offset sometimes by the glitter on her eyelids and her striking blonde hair. She is a strange, and unexpected, addition to the troupe as I found them on the corner of the Ave. When I first saw her there, I wondered what exactly she was doing with that crew. This was quickly explained when she approached me and asked about my Tradition, which is a common tactic—I rarely explain much, because the querient often does not really want to know; they just want to start a conversation. Be that as it may, she is well versed in her mirror-speak and not mean or judgmental.

Today, it seemed like an entire brass band walked past—and even a few carrying guitars stamped past, even one who wore and amp and an electric guitar. Next to Borders a man played Christmas tunes; he was lovely in his breath.

Osiris has returned from us from his brush with death. It is good to see him passing his grinning countenance back to the drum circle and the Ave. He suffered greatly at the hands of some vicious hooligans earlier this year, spent a week in the hospital, but he is always welcome in my life. He has, in the past, been one who hung out many places that I did, and he is one of the members of the Ave whom I return there to see time-to-time. I gave him copies of the Halloween and Christmas Vexations booklets. He looks pretty good for a guy who got stabbed and shot. He yet lives, and this is something I am grateful for.

Out among the throngs I also met Julian Forest, a sitar player—without his sitar I fear. His brown hair of varying lengths frayed out from beneath his brown hat, with the leather straps of the hat hanging down near his blue eyes. I didn’t recognize him as one of the usuals for the Ave. he seemed interesting enough, there are few people in this world that I know who play the sitar, except for Ravi Shankar (and I don’t really know him personally.)

Another interesting event that happened was that I received a dreidel; a lovely little purple, plastic one. I haven’t put it to use yet, being that I only just learned the song. I do know the names of the symbols on it—but I’m afraid very little else. The woman who gave it to me, I did not get her name, wore a beautiful purple headscarf and a swish hippy-dress that I felt the need to compliment. That certainly added joy and cheer to my night.

I didn’t range as much as I usually do tonight, didn’t quite feel well enough. So I comforted myself with a few rounds of the drum circle—to see Osiris, Melissa, Amish, and others—and stuck around the street preachers. Primarily so that I could give Dusty thanks for giving me this new book. It is an excellent and well-thought gift.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Phoenix - From the Ashes, Into the Flames

Admitting the banalities of everyday life on the mean streets of our favorite city, as it looms in the distance, I often wonder about the culture and beauty that we have living all around us. It’s hard sometimes to recall that Phoenix is a very young city. Compared to the elderly whitebeards of our country like New York and Boston, Phoenix is a mere adolescent…a teenager maybe?

I have written before about the war on culture taking place down on Mill, in Tempe—that’s Phoenix metro—but things get worse in the furnace that is the Phoenician downtown. It is a city that tends to take after its namesake more often than it should. Like any teenager, our fair city has borne through a constant identity crisis, trying to shoulder up to the big lads, constantly bustling towards the future, and trying its best to leave the past behind.

If the backdrop of “Old” Mill Avenue is any indication of what happens to the architecture that would build the foundations of history for this city, there is a sterile future of glass, concrete, and steel waiting for us over the horizon—rising up constantly out of the burning embers of the former buildings that aspired to give our city character and memory. Constantly throwing off her old clothing for the fads of the new, Phoenix may still be many years from actually maturing into the wisdom of an adult.

On, Mill Avenue Vexations, I pondered about the suddenly ubiquitous appearance of cranes across our skyline.

And, today, almost stunned by the discovery, I found that the Phoenix Times is running an article about the constant rebuilding of Phoenix under her own weight.

Phoenix is the victim of its own vicious cycle, apparently. In a town that tears down and rebuilds every couple of decades, nothing looks old enough or architecturally significant enough to save. Which usually leads to more demolition.

"What we're left with in downtown Phoenix is mostly buildings between 50 to 80 years old," says David Tell, who moved here eight years ago from Michigan and publishes The Midtown Messenger, a newspaper devoted to historic downtown. "In many cases, it's unlovely architecture that doesn't look historic to us, especially if we've moved here from somewhere where 'historic' meant neighborhoods of Victorian homes trimmed with gingerbread and old red brick office buildings. In Phoenix, it's about stucco and monolithic structures, and it's easy to not be impressed by what makes them historic."

The trend here, according to Steve Dreiseszun, president of the Story Preservation Association Steering Committee, has been to knock down those unlovely structures, then get busy aping other cities' design plans while ignoring our own history.

"But we're younger than most similar-sized cities," he says. "And the truth is, we have a foundation of lower, newer architecture than most big cities do. But that's becoming obliterated as we put up more and more tall buildings, because that's what says 'city' to most people."

Is it our doom to have no identity? The city was named so because it had risen from the ashes of the Hohokam civilization—but perhaps it echoes a dangerous truth about the directionless sophomorism of youthful cities.

I will remember.

The dream that is the foundation of Phoenix will live on through us: her writers, artists, adoring fans, and embracing lovers.

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Friday, November 03, 2006

Returned to Arizona

The sky is a cloudless cornflower-blue, arching overhead with eggshell brittleness. From everywhere there is heat, even this autumn day, bleeding out of everything and pounding down in torrents of liquid sunlight.

The dust and heat of day are pervasive: they are the original welcoming wagon of Phoenix as anything else, the phalanx that keeps all comers from our door. We fight them back on a daily basis like bad neighbors, running indoors, dodging across the street to keep to the shade as we move along. We spend little time outdoors in the smothering brilliance of the sun and chastise each other to “take water or buy a bottle on the way” every time one of us heads out into the urban desolation alone, even if our route only takes us a mile on foot.

A white car drives past, rumbling Spanish hip-hop as it rides—a low-rider, obviously the prize of its owner as he blasts everyone nearby with his passion for music, it pours through the open windows and fades away as he turns the far corner. I wonder if I'll see the car that has the undercarriage so low that it sprays sparks as it drives. For some reason these things strike me most immediately of Phoenix; they are not things that I would expect to see back in Michigan.

The smells of the city linger all around me, the pleasant aroma of desert plants mixed with city dust, the stinging perfume of diesel fuel and oil simmering on the road in a puddle, and the ever-present scent of mesquite from a barbeque or sage smoldering. Most distinctly, the smell of wood smoke and mesquite remind me of camping trips, lead by a caravan of aunts, uncles, and cousins; battered cars, smelly pickup-trucks, ragged and rattling jeeps; and all the other trappings of a convoy into the brush. The mesquite sticks added to the fire roasted and built a billowing white fog that brought us back from among the grey-green bushes and red rocks to find sizzling burgers and hot beans waiting for us.

But now, the smell issues forth from households and neighborhood cooking parties—I haven’t had a time to return to the desert proper in many years.

Beyond the pocked, oil stained road rises the steel and silver latticework and white smoke towers of Ocotillo, the power plant, below the horizon of houses, blocked from my view, is a carpet of shimmering mirrored plates that follow the sun every morning to evening. Heliotropes grown of silvered gallium-arsenide, photovoltaic cells that drink the sunlight and supplement the energy that powers our lights, runs our televisions, and keeps the crackling heat at bay.

Welcome back to Arizona, to the Valley of the Sun.

Because We'll Miss Him — Dennnis "The Mill Avenue Food Critic"

A memorial celebrating Dennnis Skolnick's life will be held on Sunday, November 5th, at the 6th Street Park in Tempe, right off of Mill Avenue. You can read more about it on the website where a map is provided for those who don't know where the park is.

I have posted before about Dennnis and his untimely passage from this mortal coil. And I will be attending the memorial, if for no other reason but than to see all of the other faces of the other people his warm presence has affected.

If you knew Dennnis and would like to gather with us and give him one last hurrah, come and join us at the park on Sunday.

Sleep, o'sleep without sorrow. 'Til we meet again.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Home Again, Home Again

It's about that time of year again.

That's right, it's time for me to go back to Arizona. So I am. This Saturday I'll be walking the streets of dusty Phoenix again, warming mildly under the warmth of the Valley's sun, and enjoying that wonderful city and desert smell that is totally lacking here in the wetlands.

This will also put me in the position to go around and distribute Vexations booklets again to those so worthy.

Mark thy calendars also: Concost is just around the corner. I expect to be celebrating it in full, blazing colour this year.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Ungodly Hour Reads Vexations On Air!

No kidding! I just had some of the Mill Avenue Vexations primary arc read on the air at The Ungodly Hour during their Thursday 3 hour spot on Rant Radio Industrial!

The podcast is now available. Those who have the iTunes store can find it by searching for The Ungodly Hour (TUH) and those who don't can visit their web page to download the podcast—simply locate the episode from 09.01.2006 and that will be it!

This is my big, huge shout-out to rE\dOx and LadyDev for how absolutely wonderful they are!

Also, if anyone is downloading form the iTunes store, please leave them a healthy review for me. Let them know what a great show they have. They need all the help they can get and anyone who is a fan of my work, should hopefully also be a fan of theirs.

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Mill Avenue on TurnHere.com

Don't know what that is? Don't worry about it. Just take thy mouse and click it for the movie. Click it hard, baby.

The best part about this entire thing is that Lawrence is in it. I love that man.

I am so going to go to the Graffiti Shop to see if Israel's name is still there on the floor. This had to be rather recent. Excuse the girl, I think that she's just barely getting into this or something, she's hamming it up way too much, and it sounds forced.

However, for anyone who really wants a visit and a look at Mill Avenue who hasn't had a chance—and hasn't had to sit through me babbling about it—can get a look at some of the sights and sounds. Mind, only one of the best sights and sounds (that'd be Lawrence) but enough to give a little bit of a feel for the place.

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

Vexations Updates

I figure that it has come to a time to give a little bit of an update on how Vexations is doing. I have three things in the works right now and they are all on the timeline, which is a little slow at the moment.

Volume 4, as people can see, hasn't yet been titled. I'm sure that I'll come up with something by the time that I hit that juncture. The artwork for The Legend of Sleepy Phoenix is still being worked on by Luis Boisvert, I expect that he'll have something soon hopefully. And finally, The Byzantium Outast, which is already published in Vex's Myspace blog, is being sent to my copy editor friend to clean it up so that I can turn it into the book.

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Dennnis and the Internet

After discovering just yesterday about our beloved landmark's demise, I decided that I would spend a little time and look at the reactions that the rest of the blogosphere had generated about the event. Undoubtedly, this is only the beginning, the first few ripples, but I'm going to relate them now with this post.

It would appear that the first on the scene, a creature of Mill Avenue whom I don't know of personally, posted about finding Dennnis dead--slumped and non-responsive--in his still-running vehicle. A Mistress Kristen of Myspace.com left a stirring and well written post about her experiences. I am only linking it here and not quoting it because I feel that she deserves at least to speak in her own words in her own domain.

GRTaylor2 on Blogspot gives his own impressions of Dennnis and hits on some points that I myself instantly cling to.

People wanted him off Mill Ave. in the attempt to remove the grass roots feel from Tempe as the Bamboo Clubs (an upscale Asian restaurant), Abercrombes and Borders Books went in. Tempe is losing its character by losing its cast of characters.

One thing that I will always love Dennnis for: his unrelenting grip on the reality that was Mill Avenue culture, undying zeal for the wonders that Tempe is, even in the face of the plastic-import-culture that has been creeping onto our street.

And a small clip from one Nico H from Myspace.com:

 7 a.m.  My friend Jason Parker calls me: 
Nico: (groggy) "hey man."...
Jason: "Dennnis is dead."  
  WIDE awake now.  Dennnis Skolnick was unanimously Tempe's Most Annoying Character.  So I liked him. I was one of perhaps 9 of the 60,000 Tempe residents who did. I Liked him enough to cast him in a major role in Dante's Arizona.
Dennnis's untimely passing makes the Dante's death toll at SIX, in 4 years.
I fall back asleep somehow.  And OverFuckingSleep til 9...

 And finally, I noticed another goodbye post by user suchahotmess on Livejournal.com:

He was such a funny guy.. weird, but funny. I remember the first time I met him, at the launch of one of Nick's stores in downtown Phoenix. He was taking pictures, for his magazine and we had a long chat about traveling, restaurants and life. He tried to get me to go out to dinner with him, after telling me how my little black dress "fit like a glove". He was eccentric, weird and different... but at the same time sweet, funny and interesting. He had lived a crazy life.

Dennnis, thou will be missed by many.

Another Azcentral article has also come to my attention, a piece opineing about his life and times, Azcentral.com - Skolnick's life showed freedom's fragility.

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The Obituary of a Landmark - Dennnis of Mill Avenue

A landmark has died.

Dennnis (yes, three n’s) was found dead in his car last weekend. According to the AZCentral article, he was 51 years old.

I know that I don’t have time for a proper eulogy—but this is my small tribute, small and meager to the life of a man who really meant something to me because he meant something to Mill Ave.

I still remember when he used to stand across the street from Coffee, on 5th avenue, selling those newspapers that the homeless people could pass out. The days when he graduated to become the Mill Avenue Food Critic and how he would go out in front of the City Council and actually make something of himself. There are more than enough naysayers out there who are going to speak ill of his repute, but I don’t care. He may have been dirty and no-small-part trying in his personality, but Dennnis was a person that I equated strongly with the zeitgeist that is Mill Avenue.

Skolnick was a man of contradictions. Some saw him as a nuisance who harassed pedestrians from the sidewalk intersections of Mill Avenue and Fifth Street. He was also regarded as a much-needed bit of color in the increasingly corporate downtown Tempe.

His shtick, first selling freepapers and in more recent years his “Mill Ave. Guide” for money, was both loved and hated. Either way his outgoing, outspoken personality was hard to miss if anywhere in his vicinity.

“He was very forward andvery brash, and you know, he went through a lot of problems,” said Lisa Cugudda of Uni-Print & Designs, where Skolnick printed the booklets and signs he posted at restaurants throughout the city. “Really, he was always just trying to make himself a better person.”

Skolnick was one of Tempe's biggest cheerleaders. He often referred to the downtown district as the “Greenwich Village of the West.”

'Mill Ave. Food Critic' found dead in his car

That is all. Go on about thy business.

No elegy today—but I will find a way to make sure he’s remembered. He has a bit-part in Vexations, but he deserves something a lot more than that.

Dennnis. Thy enemies are my enemies. Sleep, o'sleep without sorrow — and I am going to freaking miss thee.

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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Internet Restored, but Server Still Inscrutable

Due to the malign stupidity of Covad our DSL line was not installed on schedule which was supposed to be the 9th of this month, August. Instead, we were told, that it was bumped forward to the 18th! A date now about six days away.

However, Comcast has been kind enough to jump to our rescue and instantly install both digital cable and Internet access to our house on extremely short notice. This is the one time that Comcast has actually been such a good provider. And they deserve props for that--I hope they keep it up.

Meanwhile Mill Avenue Vexations is being parked on a hosting site with a splash page. At least, it will after the DNS propagates around the world. People who visit may also be treated to a preview of an up-and-coming tribute...

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Amazing Screw-On Head!

Slinking around the SciFi channel last night, as usual, I ran across an intensely interseting, but subtly weird cartoon. Not used to seeing cartoons on SciFi, I stopped to watch--and discovered an absolutely amazing new artform. Nearly 2 a.m. and I was entranced the entire time. Took me a little while to get TVGuide.com working and online to discover the name of this strange gem.

And then today, while slinking around the Internet, I discovered it on BoingBoing.net:

Steampunk cartoon from SciFi channel: Amazing Screw-On HeadSciFi.com is hosting the entire pilot of a proposed new animated steampunk toon called "The Amazing Screw-On Head," based on the comics of the same name. They're asking for feedback from the net about the show, and if it's positive enough, they've promised to commission and air the rest of the series. I'm watching it now and loving it.

Boing Boing: A Directory of Wonderful Things

Thou can visit the SciFi channel website dedicated to this and watch the pilot, they even have a survey, if the response to this is highly positive... well, thou've already read that part. So what art thou waiting for, a link to the Amazing Screw-On Head page?

Here is the teaser summary from the above-mentioned page:

In this hilarious send-up of Lovecraftian horror and steampunk adventure, President Abraham Lincoln's top spy is a bodyless head known only as Screw-On Head.

When arch-fiend Emperor Zombie steals an artifact that will enable him to threaten all life on Earth, the task of stopping him is assigned to Screw-on Head. Fortunately, Screw-On Head is not alone on this perilous quest. He is aided by his multitalented manservant, Mr. Groin, and by his talking canine cohort, Mr. Dog.

Can this unorthodox trio stop Emperor Zombie in time? Does Screw-On Head have a body awesome enough to stop the horrors that have been unleashed? Where can we get a talking dog?

All these questions (O.K., maybe not that last one) will be answered when you watch the thrilling tale of The Amazing Screw-On Head!

SCIFI.COM | The Amazing Screw-On Head

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Losing Internet for 2 Weeks

For about two weeks, very soon, I am going to lose my Internet connexion. Due to this, Mill Avenue Vexations and several other web pages will go offline for the duration, as will my usual e-mail addresses.

Never fear!

I will return and get everything operational again as soon as possible when the new connexion is up and running.

The Internet may vanish as soon as tomorrow, but I do not know exactly when.

During the time that I am without Internet here, I will be doing work from a friend’s house on one of my laptop. I will still appear during certain times of day on IM and my cellphone and gmail addresses are not going away.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Eerie and Beautiful Pictures of Architecture, Ruins, Buildings around Detroit

An eerie staring face mural painted amongst encroaching graffiti in a disused railway station. - Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI was just wandering around the Internet looking for random things involving pre-Depression and post-Depression fiction, news, events, and buildings when I stumbled across DetroitYES -- a website that pretty much caters to a strange community of urban photography, lost architecture, and the ruins of Detroit.

Staring beyond the accumulating defacements, this massive head equals in size and feel the Olmec stone heads I have seen in Jalapa, Veracruz.

Some things that really caught my attention were the "urban cave drawings" expo, which is really about graffiti, tagging, and some particularly spectacular images drawn onto the underside of an abandoned railway switch station. Other buildings that caught my attention were the Butzel Library, razed to the ground in 1998; St. Stanislaus Cathedral, an incinerator; and Ferry Street, also here, a series of 19th century mansions, abandoned to weather, time, and foliage, but still stunningly beautiful.

The area that I've been spending most of my time in is The Fabulous Ruins of Detroit.Some of the images are just stunning, and all of them come along with histories and small anecdotes about the picture taking.

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Friday, June 02, 2006

The Byzantium Outcast

A month or so ago I started a project called Vex's Arsenal, by Kyt Dotson. The idea was to write stories about the various magical instruments that Vex owns (for the most part which are weapons) and how she came to receive them. A great deal of the magical weapons she owns are to serve one purpose: to assist her in killing her primary adversary—the voices that harass her. The series tends to outline that while she has slowly amassed a certain number of interesting items, she has never succeeded in this mission.

The Byzantium Outcast is one such item, an artifact of a bygone eon. A demon/god-entity forged into a bronze/copper statue and lost to time. The story about this demon is being posted slowly (one segment a week) on Vex's Myspace blog. Those so interested can go read it there, but eventually I will make a PDF of it for release—and anyone who is so inclined should add as friend.

The image was commissioned from a lovely artist from Deviant Art named Nicole Cardiff. A larger version is available, click on the thumbnail with this article to view it.

There is also a news item posted on the Mill Avenue Vexations webpage about this development.

Edit: Since the Myspace blog links all seem to be broken you may need to access it via Vex's Myspace indirectly.

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Mill Avenue Vexations Volume 3 in Print

As of yesterday, Mill Avenue Vexations Volume 3: Incantations of Incarnation by Kyt Dotson went to print. I am doing fifty (50) copies as usual. This round features our lovely Vex Harrow on the cover and these fifty are a special edition which includes a red rose (the first color edition covers for any Vexations prints.)

Take a trot down to the Mill Avenue Vexations website to see the cover and the story.

I am already sending some copies out to those who have been looking forward to them, ten copies have been sent to North Phoenix, and thirty copies (if I am lucky) will be sent into Tempe where they can be distributed. I am hoping to speak with Lawrence at Graffiti Shop into carrying copies so that people on Mill can pick them up.

Sometime this week, finances forgiving, I am probably going to go down to the new print shop that I am using, Kolossus, and have fifty copies of Volume 2 produced so that I have them on hand and can actually sell/distribute them as is necessary.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A Day in my Life and Podcast Cheesecake

"As writers we change the world with our words, we are not timid fishes on the edges of the great oceans of our civilizations. It is a powerful and perilous position that we take; we are what cultures dream when they sleep."
- Kyt Dotson

Today, I discovered that somebody quoted me in a Podcast. And I am extremely flattered.

This morning, I woke up and was trawling the Internet as I am wont to do on some days. I stayed up way too late last night playing Indigo Prophecy--an eerie change from me staying up until 3a.m. with a book. The people I was chatting with got it into their heads to start googling for our usernames, our names, and so on. And, looking for freedom from boredom, I joined in.

In the midst of my search I stumbled across Cheesecake and Quarbles: Rants of Awesomeness. Readers: please go visit. I don't know exactly who she is yet, but she's quoting me and that deserves her a little traffic.

You can also jump directly to the podcast proper via You Don't Have To - Reasons Why People Write, or at least a place to comment on it. For some strange reason her podcast provider doesn't give a link to listen to the podcast from that link. Something they might want to change.

Download mp3 of Jessica Lewis's, aka nakir, podcast.

From what I have been able to glean, this is somebody that I know on GaiaOnline.com. As I am not about to out her, I'm not going to post who it is here, but I am going to go try to find out.

(And one last tidbit, she kinda mispronounced my name--I know it should come with a guide or something--I don't really care, but those who don't know: "kit" as in first-aid. I usually wear the name "KIT" on badges so that people know, but then they spell it like that. What's funny, through my life there are documents that both have me as KIT or KYT, sometimes in the same document.)

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006


This has got to be an artist after my own heart. Why? Because she (he?) created a Flash expression that strikes a resonance on the stfings of my soul. Violins and violence. A phrase that I have found a strange appeal in--and here, a story about a society where music and art are banned, beautiful music--

and love.

Read more at www.newgrounds.com/port...

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Article: I have seen the future - and it's goth.

I don't know what's quite up with it, but there's been a boatload of articles written on goth subculture lately that have been showing up in random places. It might just be me--in that I don't go out of my way looking for these things--but here's another one in the Guardian: I have seen the future - and it's goth.

I don't really have much to say about this one, it is common faire through the other commentary. Goth culture is literary, smart, middle-class, and not at all scary or stupid, so they say. Which is nice to hear from the common media.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Long Wong's

Every now and then I wander the web, the blogosphere, and any other avenue of information that the Internet has to offer and I try to find little references to Mill Avenue in other people's eyes. Today, I stumbled across this particular snippet.
Now that Wong's was moments away from being leveled, the history of that street no longer had a physical reminder left, and the only references back to those days were the ones we were lucky enough to remember. It was a bar, after all.

With another bang, the backhoe swung at Long Wong's again, resulting in a tumbling rain of old bricks, and the last of the building stood defenseless. No one else took notice, no one else stopped to watch, but I felt fortunate that sitting in an air-conditioned rental car with my eyes swelling and hot, I was there to see a place I loved so much take its last stand.

Powell's Books - PowellsBooks.Blog

Those who read Volume 2 of Mill Avenue Vexations probably saw my ending all about how there is a certain cadre who still recall the old things about Mill, Long Wong's, Cafe Boa, Java Road, all of those fading edifices that have been crumbling under the great monster of development -- but not really developing anything.

Long Wong's destruction lead to a big gravel lot that cars are parking on. I cannot say that was much progress. Sure, P.F. Cheng's China Bistro erupted from the muddy hole scraped out of the Ave that used to be a big, rolling green hill that students and passersby alike used to sit on and read. Most of that building is still disused and uninteresting.

Even through all of these terrible vicissitudes of the Merchant's Guild and the myopic vision of the Tempe Government, the culture of Mill still prevails. It prevails through people like Walt Richardson and the open mic at Rula Bula, through Graffiti Shop and Lawrence, and even through some of the people who still take to the street to recall.

As people may know, I study and record histories, as a writer, and one of the more interesting ones is of the Hayden Family. Their old homestead is now a restaurant, which I'm told serves some awesome steaks, Monti's at La Casa Vieja. Check them out sometime.

And while everyone is at it, go to the Tempe Museum. Know the place.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Article in the Telegraph About Goths

The Daily Telegraph has posted an article after my own heart this March 20th, in an article about gothic subculture:

The research found that "bourgeois" goths are a class above other youth cultures and get their kicks from books rather than drugs.

The Sussex University study says goths, recognised by their black clothes and hair, pasty faces and morbid taste in music, are middle class to the core.

Dunja Brill, 32, who has a doctorate in media and cultural studies, studied goths in Brighton, Edinburgh, Berlin and Cologne.

"They won't like me saying it, but their lifestyle, unlike the punk scene, is a middle-class subculture," she said.

Her research shows that goths share a dark sense of humour.

"The values of the goth subculture are very high-brow," she said. "They tend to enjoy old poetry, books and the arts.

I have been a member proper of the goth subculture for some time now, although my black garb is due to the adherence to a cultural tradition, they are a diverse and often tumultuous group that circumscribes an appreciation for the darker things in life. The mention of sarcasm and dark humor are not far off the mark, nor do I think the mentions that it is an obdurately middle-class subculture. It seems to me, whilst it has its roots in the punk subculture, that most of the members are the theater and humanities versions of their punk counterparts. Goth subculture borrows a lot from its literary roots in that the examination of the world as both bleak and romantic can go hand-in-hand along that bloody, tearstained journey. It is difficult to get by with simple rebellion when thy clothing, attitude, and means to expression are so intricate and often well mulled over.

In an interview on the subject of goth subculture, goth idol Voltaire explained that the subculture transcends its own dark roots through a scrim of melancholy and frayed edges to become something new; something beyond simple explanation, retaliation against authority, teenage rebellion, the music, the literature, the pale faces in the dark--all of these things meeting a new and especially sage synthesis within the group itself. All cultures and subcultures keep wisdom in their revelry; their music; their words; their outward expression; even goth subculture. And while it may seem opaque to the point of abjured mystery, the truth of the matter remains that goth subculture is not an impenetrable darkness that teens fall into, never to escape. Instead it is an experience, different from the mainstream, a waiting community, a common environment and a group more welcoming and accepting than most.

While the name goth may bring to mind dripping mascara to some, it has roots and origins from the word for "barbarians," and in truth the gothic subculture accepts the barbaric nature of mankind. That sadness, that melancholy disconsolate feeling that is brought about by the terrible doings in the world, written down onto pages, scratched out in throaty and ethereal music, it's all here.

Slowly, but slowly, the mainstream media warehouses (terrible as they are) have become more elucidated, and with that perhaps they can educated out the ignorance that they sewed too often before.

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Music: A Cat-Shaped Hole in my Heart

Anyone who has been close to a cat--or any other pet--knows the feelings of grief and loss. has put together a compilation CD with a multitude of Darkwave, Gothic artists all submitting songs about their cats. The royalties and proceeds are donated to a local no-kill shelter in Chicago. This CD is in memory of his cat, Vidna, who died of feline leukemia (FeLV).

You can find the CDs for sale on Amazon.com and even a series of reviews that should give you an idea of what's on the CD and how other people felt about it.

Thou can also visit their web page, and chances are they'll receive more money if thou go this route anyway. See Cat-Shaped Hole In My Heart at Projekt.

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Friday, March 03, 2006

Dana Goodness

Few people know, but today I received a Dana from AlphaSmart, the device is essentially a palm device, because it runs on PalmOS, but it has a built in full-size keyboard. This has always been one of the major hurdles between me and something smaller than a lappy—and actually a hurdle between me and lappies (I actually require a keyboard separate from my laptop because the keyboard is slightly too small for my delicate elven fingers.)

I have decided to include an excerpt from the AlphaSmart web page about the Dana Wireless (the version I received.)

It's the affordable one-to-one computing solution—and now available with wireless connectivity. Dana Wireless offers the convenience and affordability of a hand-held device, and includes built-in Wi-Fi (802.11b) capability, providing wireless connectivity for the classroom, campus, office, or home.

Dana Wireless continues AlphaSmart's tradition of ultralight portability and simplicity. With Wi-Fi technology, getting connected has never been easier.

Dana Wireless

So far it has met my expectations for such a device. It has a touch screen and a full-size keyboard that adequately matches my bird-like hand-span. The user interface is intuitive enough that I quickly learned to use the word processor (my primary concern as a writer) and even determined some of the more esoteric functions without having to dip into the manual.

It is a fun toy too.

I will probably get a carrying case for the device and trot it out to Mill Avenue with me sometime soon. I intend to use it for note taking and, if I can get an IRC program or an AIM client installed, I can use it to keep in touch with people when I'm near hotspots.

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Tempe City Goverment Actually Getting Things Right?

Pride? What is this...perhaps it's a swelling in my chest at some words that I just read in an article? Could it be?

Council candidates debate housing in the State Press wrote:

All the candidates also said future high-rise development in Tempe should be restricted.

Arredondo said he opposed the 30-story height for the tallest buildings of Centerpoint Condominiums, now under construction at Mill Avenue and Sixth Street.

He added he would never allow Hayden Butte, or "A Mountain," to be surrounded by high-rise buildings.

"I really can't imagine what downtown Tempe is going to look like with a 30-story building," Ellis said. "That just seems so high to me."

Well. I am certainly happy to see that sentiment. The strange landscape of Tempe (and Arizona) is one that suffices less growing up and more making due with what we have. In fact, it seems to me, that as a desert we should be growing down, but that may just be me. I have to agree that I do not want buildings towering over A Mountain (yes, I understand it's really named Hayden Butte [actually Tempe Butte, but I hate the name Tempe vs. Hayden], but this is one of those cases where the historic name doesn't matter as much as its community name--I think Tempe already knows something about this.)

With these Centerpointe Condominiums being constructed at 6th and Mill, it makes things a little bit more irksome for me. The Orchidhouse Condominiums near 5th and Mill are already a blight for the culture of Mill Ave, because the tenants like to complain about ordinary goings-on that have been happening for over a decade on Mill. I am fundamentally annoyed at these extremely stupid people, whose behavior rankles me to the core. What the hell were they expecting? A quiet suburb out of the way of an economic center? No, wait, they chose to live right off of a major downtown road, a center for culture and commerce.

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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Record Phoenician Dry Spell

What many of my readers may not know is that right now Phoenix, and as a result Mill Avenue, are under a particularly annoying blight: our robin egg blue skies have yet to crack themselves open and let loose with some good old fashioned rain.

Phoenix has been a no-rain zone for almost 133 days and running, and one of our few chances to break it anytime soon is passing us by right now.

Yesterday, The Arizona Republic ran an article with this headline: Storm might end record dry spell today; but, in spite of all hopes to the contrary, the clouds brought us little more than a few stuttered coughs and an umbrella of grey.
A strong Pacific storm hit the West Coast on Monday, dropping 1 to 2 inches in parts of California.

As it moves east, Phoenix will have a 40 percent chance of rain today and tonight.

Bill Estle of the National Weather Service in Phoenix said this is the best chance of rain since Phoenix set the dry-spell record on Jan. 27.

Much to our dismay, it seems that we will have to continue to labor under further dryness until this desiccating waltz plays itself out.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Strange Seduction of the Demonic Burger King

Consider this a warning: Burger King may be currently under the influence of a cthonic entity from beyond space and time.

Even now, its cult is rising up out of the strange backwaters of our world to strike at humanity through the most powerful tool any strange being from out-of-space might have: our food. The Burger King in Yellow is the most bizarre and eerily creepy corporate mascot ever, but it may yet be the instrumental guise for this creature. Already there have been masks produced to mimic its unholy visage released for a Hallow'een takeover--thankfully I saw none of these terrible things on Mill.

This creature has even been seen in the Super Bowl advertisements, grooming its cultists to create a virgin sacrifice of choreographic dancers (likely virgins) who cast themselves as condiments and pieces of a hamburger, and then threw themselves together into a pile (creating the burger), presumably so that the Burger King could then devour them off camera.

Do not be fooled!

The warning signs are all here -- this certainly is no end time, but the danger may be great. Creepy advertising may be attention getting, but ... why risk it?

For those so invested, thou might want to check out a parody story that I wrote about Vex Harrow's own encounter with the Burger King in Yellow in No, I Do Not Want Fries With That.

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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Podcasts - Because I feel like it.

Okay, so I figured that I needed to put this one out there for people, but I have found some awesome podcats in my recent foray into that culture.

One that I love in particular is The Ungodly Hour. Go. Hunt. Kill Skuls. I mean that. Visit that link and subscribe. They play a beautiful mixture of Gothic, Industrial, EBM, and other elements that I find extremely worthwhile. I found them looking for Gothy podcasts so that I could fulfill my music quota for the long, boring days.

I cannot give enough props to these guys. Each show is about three hours long, between the music they hold sessions of real, interesting talk -- so far about the news and other extremely fun babble.

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Friday, February 17, 2006

Mill Avenue Vexations Volume 2 Now in Print

Mill Avenue Vexations News wrote:

Mill Avenue Vexations Volume 2: The Calm Before has officially been released to print!

Fifty copies will be available starting tonight to first come, first serve on Mill Avenue and wherever the author and helpers can be found trotting around ASU and Tempe proper. Back cover by Kyt Dotson, and the front cover done by our newest cover artist, Megan Lee Beals. The back cover also contains a quip about the Tempe Government Building, and inside I have included an article on Mill Avenue culture.

And that's the news! Volume 2 has hit the streets and is going to be trotted out to the sweaty masses. No big news yet on exactly when I will be able to get out there, but I assure that I'll be carrying at least twenty copies with me. I may not be able to burn through them all in one night.

That's what Drum Circle is for.

This particular print has been a little less in quality than the others. I think that I should really be aiming for card stock covers, but I don't care at the moment. It increases the cost just a little bit, but it really helps with making them coheasive as booklets.

And that's the news.

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Vexations Volume 2 to Print

As of this morning, Vexations Volume 2 went to print. I am doing fifty (50) copies as usual, and they will be available by tomorrow evening. I might start distributing them immidiately--you can expect to find them, and me, on Mill Avenue when I can, finding people to give them to. There are a limited number, so if you don't think you can make it out there you will have to leave a comment (or email me) and I will earmark one for you.

Some copies are already earmarked for people, such as the cover artist, and a few other fans--those who I can physically hand them to.

Once the print copies are in my hand I'll post again, it will probably be quoting off of the Vexations web page, but it'll be a good milestone to know that the prints are in the wild at that point.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Saint Harlequin's Day - February 15th

Hey everyone, it's time to get hot and bothered--once again, as it is yearly, St. Harlequin's Day is upon us.

Forget flowers, forget chocolate, do not pass GO, do not collect $200 (unless you didn't get paid last payday,) and instead head straight for the whiskey and 'shine. Today isn't a time to spend wasting on thy fellow kin, it's a day to be angry about all the things that are unfair in this world--anything that is unfair for anyone. In fact, anything that pissed thee off yesterday, why not vent it all today. Glare, growl, and let the bugbears have it! All in the name of the day. Today is a day to rant, rave, and carry on like someone is listening.

Go ahead and be mad as hell, and don't take it anymore.

Though, today isn't completely about violence catharsis, it is about all of those people who shouldn't be bottling it up. Who suffered quietly through the gentle and annoying ministrations of Hallmark's cupid cronies the day before, who have taken their fill of papercuts from cards, sleepless nights from the sounds next door, and just want to strangle someone in a fit of rage. It's about how badly life has treated thee, how the market for romance is a dried up pond with fish flopping at the bottom. No more tears--but those shining tears of anger.

Life's wit is sharper than any irony and cuts more deeply than any drama. And yet, today, we can cut it down with our own vices and billowing frustratios. Don't take Harlequin's Day sitting down, unless its cominga long with a very deep glass of a very strong liqeur.

Swear up a storm, knock back a firey spirit, and be willing to be filled up with all the resonance of that long supressed and languishing roar.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Who Do You Work For?

Royal Rave wrote:
Hawthorne wrote:
Screw improper uses. We're writers. It's like Mistress Prairie makes up words because she's a Webster -- in all frankness, when it comes to language rules writers should be both the gaurdians and the worst offenders

Isn't that like robbing the bank you work for?

We don't work for language; language works for us. We work for our communities, our audiences, culture, and literature as an expression and an artform itself.

When non-writers change and shift language they do so with the bearing of their own mass-minds, they smooth over gaps left by previous changes, steal words from other languages, and produce hodgepodges for the pure utility of communication.

When we break the rules we do so because it's beautiful, because it gets our point across, because it gives new meaning or new bearing to the language--language is constantly growing and changing, predictably and unpredictably and as writers its almost a civic duty to constantly test its boundaries and either sand down the rough edges or limn them.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The War on Culture: Mill Avenue Drum Circle In Exile

The midnight air over Mill Avenue hangs sweetly on my skin as I bask under the sallow laternlight of a street lamp. The drummer keep playing, feet keep pounding the pavement, and passing cars add their own urban rhythm to the tribal sensation of culture and community. I inhale deeply the scent of smoldering sage as it mixes with the gently tremulous night air; but there’s something different, something has changed about this oh-so-familiar gathering that I have always come to love.

Tonight, I stand with them in exile.

Since December of 2005, the police have begun to force the peaceful and stirring drum circle from their place between the Valley Art Theater and My Big Fat Greek Restaurant because of complaints. Ordinarily one would immediately come to ask, “Who is complaining at twelve a.m. on a Saturday in the middle of a business district like Down Town Tempe?” Residents of Down Town Tempe, of course.

In its strange wisdom, Tempe decided to zone and permit the construction of a community right next to downtown in the Orchidhouse Condominiums.

This little housing development apparently attracted its tenants due to the nightlife and culture of Tempe, but apparently after having moved in because of it, the people who chose to live there don’t like what they came for. In a good case for blatant inanity, the people who moved into these apartments somehow managed to blind themselves with ignorance of the actual culture of Mill—the Drum Circle has been drumming in that location for more than a decade now; predating the Orchidhouse Condominium structure.

An article in the Azcentral community section goes on about how the president of the Orchidhouse Condominium Association, Fred Neal received the complaints of his tenants and took this to the Tempe Police. Together, they decided on the compromise of enforcing an age-old curfew on Tempe parks of 12 a.m.—one that has been traditionally eschewed in deference to the drum circle and the culture it represents.

I don’t know if anyone else notices the subtle implication of the word “compromise,” especially when this compromise was had between the police and the condominiums; completely ignoring any representation or envoy to the drum circle itself.

To me, this move is just another sally in the ongoing war against Mill Avenue culture that has been fought in some of the most underhanded and cowardly ways that I have ever seen. From Tempe’s campaign against the itinerant population, the slow bleeding away of anything unique or cultural about Mill, and through acts much like this—where back room “compromises” are made by people who I doubt have ever gotten their feet dusty dancing to the drums they seek to silence.

A thread on the Mill Avenue Vexations forums has been set up for tracking these developments and compiling articles and information on what's been going on.

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Monday, January 02, 2006

Have a Merry Vexing Christmas

It's a good day for an eBook:

Good day everybody, the eBook for Merry Vexing Christmas, by Kyt Dotson, is now released and you can download a copy for yourself! then go chat about it in the thread dedicated to it. Fifty copies have been printed, the covers are beautiful, as you can see. There's an advertisement for Graffiti Shop on the backs. The printing is done with card-stock for the covers so it actually feels a little bit like a booklet rather than just a folded bit of papers. There will be an HTML version soon enough. Thanks to everyone and their support.

Mill Avenue Vexations

That's right, the Have a Merry Vexing Christmas book is not out in ebook format for everyone to enjoy and read. So get going, get one!

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