Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mill Avenue Vexations Teaser Trailer

Teaser trailer for Mill Avenue Vexations using various covers and thus imagery of Vex Harrow. This is my first ever attempt at making a video file, there are some lovely (and strange) video editing junk out there and the one I used was extremely common.

I am thinking of doing some small bits on various elements of Mill Ave, so that once they're gone we have something to remember.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Release of Mill Avenue Vexations Volume 7 tomorrow

A pre-announcement on the release of Mill Avenue Vexations Volume 7 Doom in the Distance for tomorrow. I will be out on Mill probably between the hours of 9pm and 12am midnight passing them out. I have a batch of 50, but I will probably not carry quite that many with me.

For those looking for me, I tend between the street preachers in front of Urban Outfitters (or the post office), the Mill Ave drum circle, and Graffiti Shop. I will be wearing an outfit of Concost whites instead of my usual Whisper black garb in respect of Emmanuel's death earlier this weeksince this is my people's mourning color. It should make me a bit more obvious than usual. Sadly, I do not have a white hat or gloves, so that'll be a little bit of a strange juxtaposition.

Below is a teaser of the cover for who might be interested.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Requiescat In Pace, Emmanuel

I write this after I've learned that my friend, Emmanuel, has died. It is likely that few of my friends here know him, but I am recording my speech here nonetheless, lest my memory of him ever be forgotten. Those who read my blog will know of him as someone whose company I enjoyed greatly during outings to see the Street Preachers on the Ave.

Caidil e caidil e 's dhiot gach bron, Emmanuel.

Sleep, oh sleep without sorrow, Emmanuel.

- - -

It's not often that I have the need to write biographical speeches…and less so about someone that I cared about, found smiling in the Saturday Mill Ave lights, and now won't see there again.

So say "I barely knew you" rings hollow for anyone who likely knew him a lot longer, and a lot better than I. But here is my experience. 

As a person, Emmanuel was a welcome sight. Quick witted, truthful to his core, cheerful and thoughtful about his speech, his composure added something dramatic and driven to our little gatherings. Easy laughter and jocularity became the hallmark of his conversation and he used them often to soften the edge of his keen, curious intellect.

But the one thing that he left with the most of us – and what anyone who has spent time will them will carry away – is the warmth of his compassion and the comfort his company brought. 

Writing a speech like this is all about saying what perhaps doesn't need to be said, because everyone is already thinking it. I ask for everyone's indulgence by closing with what doesn't need to be said, because everyone listening already has it written on their hearts:

"Emmanuel, you will be missed." 

Kyt Dotson

Monday, January 14, 2008

Mill Avenue Nights, January 12th 2008

Strange weekend.

The street preachers moved from in front of Urban Outfitters to in front of the post office. In the past, this has actually been one of the places that other preachers would show up—the guys with the huge wooden cross. I haven’t seen them in a while. Of course, the Way of the Master folks can cheerfully take over that spot, it’s a good place for them. It appears they were displaced by a young man with an amp and a guitar.

A lot of interesting stuff happened tonight, so I’m going to try to cover it point by point again, but hopefully without losing to many people.

“Why don’t you atheists get your own corner?”

Kazz tells me that Lynda said this to someone in the crew. I’m pleased-as-punch, even if I am not atheist I still am filled up with joy about the dialogue that they’ve started with the preachers. It’s not about the disturbance that they create on the Ave—and the new presence of better hecklers and more disciplined dissenters is just a sign of that dissonance being noticed—it’s about the people that get brought up in the churn.

The preachers have been the only voice on their various corners for way too long. Here I’d say that they’ve gone unopposed for too long, but this isn’t exactly truthful. It creates a false sense of dichotomy, as if the street preachers are one of two voices, when they’re really one of millions and, in spite of the etymology of the word dialogue, there can be more than two parties involved.

The best part about the disruption that the street preachers create on the Ave is that the theater of the discussion between their amp and the newly added bullhorn creates an actual discourse. It requires the person with the amp (tonight it was Jeremiah again) to actually respond to the person with the bullhorn and it forces them to be part of the dialogue. They still tend to ignore a lot of questions in that slippery showman fashion, but at least it’s forging an actual forum rather than an ad hoc lecture.

But, really, what brings a smile to my lips happens behind the scenes, after the curtains fall. At about 11p.m. the preachers fold up and prance off, vanishing into the vehicles that brought them to the Ave (or they tuck into Starbucks for a while.) Without their mike and amp they become more personable, more like people; hecklers and preachers end up mingling and speaking to one another about personal lives, thoughts and ephemeral cheer. Very little animosity remains in the air, hands shake, and rivals take on a different level of discussion.

When the machine dismantles the components aren’t as hot-and-heavy anymore. At least then they’re people—which is what I come to the Ave for, after all, not for the moralizing lectures and sanctimonious priggery, but instead the reality of people and the wonder that is the story of their lives.

Where do good books come from, after all, but the humanity and the storytelling that binds life together.

This section is shorter than usual today because of…


Fred is the best thing about the night. She’s a tiny, slip of an emo chick, double-breasted black vest with a white “broken” heart, and raven-haired bowl cut—but the best part about her (aside form her gorgeous, giant spectacles of awesome) was the fact that when our eyes first met, and she smiled: I saw fangs.

Vampire fangs!

Nothing is going to catch my attention instantly than someone actually going out with a pair of acrylic appliqué fangs. The lovely thing about Goths who go with the fang look (or even emo) is that they can be kept as a subtle affect. If the person knows how to wear them, doesn’t spend their time drawing attention to them, normal conversation becomes a whole different experience. There’s no feeling quite like holding a giggling, grinning hanging-in-the-wind discussion with the leery looks of people making double-takes as they walk past.

Needless to say, I instantly delivered as many copies of Vexations into her hands as I possibly could. What can I say? There aren’t that many other Goths hanging around, and Emo are the new Goth as far as I’m concerned.

To say the least, I spent the three hours I should have been paying attention to the preachers and Mill instead paying attention to Fred. (Don’t worry about me, my research is fine. I did take a great deal of demographic notes and I’ve still got enough piled up from other nights to make up for a lapse. Why can’t I have fun some nights on Mill?)

She’s a chemical engineering major at ASU (a place that I wish that I was still a student at most days) and draws her own comic series. I cannot wait until she appears on DeviantART like she suggested she would. She even drew us some of her characters, who are interestingly thin figures similar to Johnen Vasquez’s Johnny the Homicidal Maniac. Just with a particularly straight-line-style emo flare. Also, her comix appear to feature a manic-depressive, suicidal vampire who just cannot seem to manage to kill himself (stakes don’t work, walking outside in the sun simply gives him a charbroiled sunburn, hanging fixes out-of-alignment vertebrae—some of which he received trying to run himself over with a truck…)

We managed a long talk about what it’s like living in Fountain Hills as a teen and why that’s a terrible experience for anyone. I certainly wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

She also managed to get herself booted from Bath and Bodyworks. Something about not buying anything and staring at other customers. This rather dampened our spirits later in the night when we decided that we were going to start an ad hoc coven right there in front of the street preachers (but for a lack of candles, which would have required braving B&B again…)

C’est la vie.

Cheers to another beautiful night on the Ave, and another day spent daydreaming and writing.

Psst. For those who want to know. Volume 7 is out of post-edit and is taking the finishing touches of artwork. So that’ll be appearing sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Coyote Sightings

The sightings of coyotes this winter have been way up from normal. Over the past few weeks I've heard numerous reports from different people in the North Phoenix area that coyotes have been seen. I am fairly certain there has been more than one animal.

In fact, the sightings have been raised to the level of people posting on Craigslist.

Kazz, in fact, while he was walking the dogs spotted a coyote rambling through the streets of our little neighborhood. Of course, it abuts a region of actual desert here on the hard edge of the city, so that doesn't surprise me that much.

I believe that someone even rumored that one coyote had been seen near the fake lake in Tempe. Something that I'd already posited happening long ago.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Holiday Recovery

I'm still here. Really.

The last two Saturdays were indeed spent on the Ave, in my usual spot, offering up booklets to all onlookers and passersby. Notes are harder to come by because my fingers hurt.

I just haven't had a moment to retell the events of those days, which I will hopefully be getting on to when I have a chance. (And they'll be back dated after a week or so of letting them ride free on the blog.)

Gone is my Santa cap, which I wear primarily for Yuletide, and if I can only get my paws on a black fedora again, I'll be happy. Maybe I'll break tradition and wear a red fedora just to stand out (yes, a red hat on an all-black outfit, I should be obvious.) Nay, nay, I think what may end up happening is I'll end up with a tricorne pirate hat next round...

This is because Kazz wants to treat the street preachers to some good, loving noodly appendaged Flying Spaghetti Monster loving. And I have a "Kiss Me I'm a Pirate" t-shirt. So, apparently, I've been conscripted to be the cute-adorable-alternative to Kazz's usual brusque militant silhouette...

We'll see how that goes. I'm sure.