All Gravel Roads. . . . . Lead to “El Duce”

 

 

If all gravel roads lead somewhere, you wouldn’t be surprised to pass old, broken-down trailers in the neighborhood. And a fixture of riff-raffery, some of Beetlejuice’s low-down neighbors poking around a grill like a whiskey-guzzling musk-rat.

Brutal, lordly. NSFW– (“Not safe for work) as if a dude like this even worked.

It’s “El Duce” from the shock-rock beer-belly set. You’ll recognize him for his sadomasochist stylings, concealing his objectionable identity with a black hood and guttural offensive charms as he fronted “The Mentors” like THE KINGS OF SLEAZE festering on the Pacific Coast.

Langouring trailer-park women in leather and garters, his presumed harem as he bulges out his eyes like bonk-headed, glazed space mutants in foam-rubber monster costumes “demanding to be gratified”.

Indeed, “a threat to health, wealth, and morals” whose raunchy lyrics were presented before Congress in hearings by “The Washington Wives”, calling for restraint and decency in the music industry. Good luck with that– the only thing they succeeded in doing was getting “Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics” stickers on tapes & CD’s and probably just making the offending music THAT MUCH MORE ENTICING.

No matter what, you’ll always have the bottom-feeders like ole’ El Duce putting on shows and selling underground records out of a car trunk, a slap on your shoulder and an ice-cold beer in the other hand as he yuks it up like an unsubtle statement about America.

Just another misfit in the world of Beetlejuice “who fits”.

Call him “Uncle Perv”. . . . . though I think Lydia would remain wary to the proposition of returning to a motel with his guy. After all, she broke-off the marriage contract with Beetlejuice in the movie, spared from obscene fate, an X-rated boast.

If even from El Duce– who once sensationally claimed that Courtney Love offered him money to whack Kurt Cobain. Maybe a nugget of some off-color joke “grows with the telling” but watch as everyone attempts to cash in.

Like a dubious character witness, I wouldn’t trust him either as you can’t forget Beetlejuice “selling used cars” at the cemetery lot with the giant lit sign– the giant arrow pointing to “dirt-low” credibility, the rotten truth in all “the fine print”.

A foul trickster, free speech for the dumb as you can’t “outlaw evil”. Keep this movie PG-rated, IF YOU DARE. Or else my name is Jerry Springer. . . . .

 

Don’t “Shake Hands with SNAKE”

All Gravel Roads. . . . . Lead to “El Duce”

Creepy Crawl Punk Venu

 

If it’s anything St. Louis has no shortage of—it’s the various small-dive punk clubs. Some open, some close—R.I.P. as rents go up with the gentrifying neighborhoods. Your best bet is something in the shuttered industrial-district on the grimy edge of city limits, a rose-carving in a wrought iron-gate for the dank atmosphere of auto-exhaust and the sewers.

Cheap shows– $10 for a night of mayhem, if the bands on the bill aren’t terribly well-known.

You have a thrasher, maybe a left-wing skinhead from the old Eastern bloc countries who weaves through the audience in a green bomber jacket, his boots laced-up with red anti-fa shoelaces. Punk is maybe an open-minded series of observations, individually subjective for all the strange flavors of variety. He looks like “that guy from Anthrax”, as you could only be referring to Scott Ian, like earnest gung-ho driftwood and goofy-foot guitar hopping like cargo shorts and raked guitar strings.

You also have “wise-guys” with the sly, perceptive art of observation. Maybe he’d be a cartoonist or just a clerk at 7-Eleven. View-askew, a cap turned sideways and a clever t-shirt of some scribbled vintage. His state is constant bemusement through a pair of pop-eyed glasses.

Don’t forget the crew of goth chicks, skin as pale as cottage-cheese in the artsy, performance-based world of witchcraft and “large, in-charge” antics. She definitely knows what she wants, the raven-haired streak of appetite and life-force like a fish tank of gleaming glass beads and murkier smells of paint and incense. Pick one or the other, like sisters differentiated slightly by personality but still wonderfully mysterious.

You have the blonde, dreadlocked stoner and “outside-the-box” thinker with a tragic overbite and clenched, silent intent hanging his arms out of his Rastafarian shirt colors for a hop and kick of the hackey-sack. . . . . a game of ultimate-frisbee. Attention Deficit Disorder as the mild, silent-type who fits the bill of all stoner-lore and comic-relief.

And there’s a sour, chirpy lark who’s small but as overflowing with punch as an atomic warhead for chewing gum and eyes lighting up with mischief. Contrarian and street-wise like a pill of cyanide, swallowing a straw of pixie-stix and flailing around until she collapses from a blown-out sugar-high and gets back on the stage to do it again, diving back in the pit.

These would be Lydia’s friends. . .. . . a gang of indie-media slackers living off their parents’ largess and in the artistic lifestyle of alt-rudderless experience. Where Lydia goes, they go—fleshing out this Beetlejuice 2 movie as the plot coalesces in a strange world and becomes a film.

You will here more about them. . . . . the St. Louis experience. Stay tuned!

 

Creepy Crawl Punk Venu

Scenic, Twisted Missouri. . . . .

 

Hobgoblins of telecommunication have knocked-out my internet here in St. Louis– as seen on the national news where flooding is a story. You’ll see lots of rolling, bumpy green hills from the sky-chopper, incidentally “a notion of where Beetlejuice 2” might be filmed.

And what’s this business of creepy clowns? You hear these stories about perverts in the woods messing with kids’ minds as this sounds more like “tall tales” and mass panic.

Though in Eureka we do have our share of weird happenings.

Just think of this place as a township a few miles outside of the city, beyond the county, and deeper in-state. If Lodi, New Jersey produced Glenn Danzig and Aberdeen, Washington calls Kurt Cobain a home-town son, this place would draw a comparison.

Through the haunted woods– you might here stories about hidden meth-labs. . . . . or was it just a hotdog cook-out? Or twisted imbeciles left abandoned in the woods “by their handlers” to pull on car door-handles and garble unintelligibly. . . . .

It is a world of camp-fire lawn chairs and beer coolers where you see the rugged nature of the outback mixed with zany artistic-impulse, like rusty nails dipped in buckets of diet cherry 7-Up and a whole lot of mind-altering drugs for skaters and BBS internet-pirates “back in the day”. Drifters, drift-wood, and homebrew wailing guitar. 1920’s hunting lodges and whorish Bettie Page spanking-gear with bee-stung lips and 1950 Atomic X-mas as told by serial killers like Ed Gein– and rockabilly mutton-chops.

The coldest touch. . . . . like crib death or a toddler with a Frankenstein haircut as it’s “The Munsters” or “Garfield’s Halloween Special” or even “Return to Oz” for green, foaming dark fantasy death with claw-footed bathtubs and the gray, leaden sky out the window.

Beetlejuice would be under the bridge, fishing. His friend, a black, scruffy poodle with giant, swinging, tumorous balls and blind to the world.

Someone call the health department– or maybe the dog-catcher. We don’t know, for who.

As the story goes, “living in a van– down by the river”.

The cops will hose him off in the drunk tank “because of the unbearable smell” and tell him to raft away to the next town. He’s the Missourian vagrant. . . . . or maybe it was Florida.

Moving south for the winter as an itinerant carnival worker if not a kids’ show host on television. Don’t dress up as Chuck’ee-Cheeze and keep a clean police record. . . . .

Scenic, Twisted Missouri. . . . .

Alternative Nation Inc.

ANGST SELLS. . . . .

To think, how a certain degree of what (post) adolescents recognize as “the misery index” is merely self-fulfilling prophesy.

Young & idle translates to “oppressed and self-conscious”. Like a snake eating its own tail.

What of Friday night—wanting “everything at once”, “everything louder than everything else” as you find hints of “an answer” at some lonely, yearning night down at some rock concert flea-pit.

The lights—the excitement—the danger—the best that a $5, all-ages show can offer you and the mob looking for something, maybe “but never quite finding it”.

In a nutshell, that’s “the scene”.

You mostly likely never heard of it until marketers pick up on a hot property and sell “the sizzle”.

While really, “the meat of the matter” is constant, dreary nights kept tabs on by a minutia-quoting obscurist who hung on at every show, perhaps “having no where else to go”.

So knock on the tour bus window—“Uh, is there like—anyone COOL in there?”

For everyone else, there’s the fashion accessory.

Take the flannel shirt of the Seattle “grunge” movement. The point is, it was off-the-rack clothing simply meant to be unostentatious before marketers start selling their own $4000 items as a status symbol “for the outsider, looking in”.

The reason money means anything is precisely because few have any of it—and rarified, carefree-ness “is the good time that takes itself away” if you were to ask anybody.

For everyone else life proves to be a purgatory of “getting over”, working, or “hoping to be somewhere else” as it’s a thin gruel, indeed.

The personal, they say—“is political”. Or at this age, finding “your own tribe” as everyone sorts each other out through “vibes” or “mental wavelength”.

And remember—if you can correctly spell “poseur” it means YOU ARE ONE. Otherwise, the sleepy scene “doesn’t think much” and you are only “overthinking it”.

So why not listen to records? Or better yet– for the economy and your constantly ebbing-sense of self-esteem—GO BUY SOME RECORDS?

A bricks n’ mortar business is more substantial and longer-lasting than most scenes—as why work hard at something when you can otherwise buy yourself out a seeming shortcut?

And watch as online commerce closes down local business, as you’re left floating as a lone node in cyberspace.

I guess, then. . . . . we must show existential courage.

\

Alternative Nation Inc.

Lydia, Updated for Present Day

 

Lydia, Updated for Present Day

1988—it was a long time ago.

You can’t really play too much of “a recycled teenager” without some stylistic changes.

Sure, there’s the question if too great a number of the MTV generation “ever grew up” or if we live in an extended post-adolescence with tiny jobs, an abundant service economy, and definitely TIME TO PARTY.

Many of us keep listening to the same music we did back in high school. . . . . . but there’s a question if we’d still wear the exact articles of clothing.

Many 40 year-old’s couldn’t well fit into the same Metallica t-shirt or at least wouldn’t wear it well. And it’s not if most Metallica fans turned into investment bankers.

I can’t really think of Winona Ryder as Lydia Deetz ever “selling-out”, really. But would she still wear the same shapeless black rags and spiky head-piece?

Not likely—or it would just look weird 30 years on.

But an artistic, dark soul would still wear the sort of dark, punk-rock accoutrements. I’m thinking a black sun hat, t-shirt, and jeans like the photo below—incidentally a slice of the local population around here in our very own St. Louis.

So how do you weigh the reality of “working”, or holding-down a job?

There’s one answer to that—THE “GIG” ECONOMY.

Front whatever kind of bullshit you want, but there’s a niche for any kind of service. And that means more than working at “Build-a-Bear” though it’s a job Lydia might try out for like, A DAY before getting fired.

If you remember, she makes her way around as a local personality working on DIY t.v., maybe a bit of radio at the local community stations. When she’s not doing that, or maybe running a YouTube channel she makes extra money by giving live tarot readings via web-cam with an air of intrigue and langouring mystery.

Stretch that job out while living with a couple of house-mates and possessing a liberal arts degree, maybe you can “fake it” until “you make it”.

Cyber-space calls, meat-space is tacky. But tours of the strange & unusual can pass as a vocation, if you’re creative and “a little loopy”.

So it is among the hard feld-spar and open lots, where skaters flip tricks and the depthless blue sky hangs above as old media is recycled into newer, strange organic forms. Personalities weave in and out of her languid, sarcastic day and she never loses her dramatic air, bobbing in and of the screen like an apparition in a Bram Stoker novel.

Trust me—many can get away with this well into middle-age or later—as where do you go when there’s no role models or hero’s—only television sound-bytes and the even more evanescent online-hype?

And who could rightfully succeed in such a media environment? What single point of hard, diamond-like concentration does it get to push a personal brand, a line of consumer products?

Let the freak show begin. . . . . she’s just the ticket-taker.

As for Beetlejuice? The star of the story—and you’ll know “IT’S SHOW-TIME”.

Lydia remains the well-grounded “voice of reason” and keeps this film anchored. Her most welcome-return will certainly be anticipated, or else the sequel “was never meant to be”.

And by plucking the petals off a black-rose and creamy white fingers with black nail-polish, she’ll wish you luck.

 

Lydia, Updated for Present Day

Black Crepe Flocks & Silver Celluloid Dreams

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The Nightmare. The Dream-time. Overdosed on bullshit, we all grew up convinced that we’d become rock stars, celebrities, and billionaire CEO’s.

You see it– over heaps of rotting, sheltered largess– how the truth is always grimmer.

And funny— if you have a soft spot for literal “escape-artistes” or better known as malignant dreamers.

Like slackers who claim to be “workaholics”— perhaps dark angels (– or beautiful, tortured freaks?) roosting over their water-colors and canvasses like world citizens of the MTV generation.

And here—assembled in this little inverted inlet of adolescent elan & slurry—

. . . . . the hallowed art room. Weep a jaded, bloody tear—like an acid/fractal corsage burning on the French gates of bohemian allure. Lo, the mortification.

Neither perky, nor perky. . . . . more like rays & skates swimming below the radar of the civilization-keepers, the granite-faced coldness of uptown museum giving. And how—dubious and penniless—it never stopped them from doing exactly what they were going to do anyway.

A dark fire, organic and rich—like a top-knot tied in some street agitator’s hair, standing with his back turned and arms crossed before a mural.

It was the indie cachet that mattered.

Call it French/Polish. Or Czech-Sicilian. Or any lone Portugeese/Hungarian misfit glowering over a mouth full of mushy, toothless gums with a bottle of wine and token beret.

Like street theater—acrobats, stilt-walkers, and clowns fanning-out to pick-pocket the unsuspecting like grinning astrological sun-faces and the theatrical color purple. Murky paintings of European prostitutes and café Marxism like the tricky riddles of Pablo Picasso confounding the bourgeois with a scribble in the bare, empty air.

Add, subtract. . . . . distract. Then divide by zero and cancel-out all standards to prove the infinite answer. There, all along justifying their shoddy example.

Artful minds. . . . . funny how that aligned.

A beggar’s banquet for dodgy humanities degrees. The only thing to do was bitch about movies.

For society was in some advanced state of decay as the postmodern condition rose amid a forest of video monitors and music-video hijinks. Like bread and circuses for “Alternative Nation”– the MTV broadcast propping-up the endless 1990’s smorgasbord of “chill”. Come as you are. Greet me, eat me, exploit me, consume me— like a complete, fully-wrapped package.

A poster—a video-box. A STATEMENT.

You only saw the sizzling, final product at the red carpet premier or other such overly-slick media event—perhaps at the white, sandy beaches of Cannes.

Beggars, thieves, and hanger’s-on.

It was mostly a state of disrepair and ambitions largely doomed to completion. It was the kind of artsy prestige that appealed to the junior purple-beret crowd holding up a flower and picking the petals in a haze of sweet perfume and acrylic paint-smells. Languid, droopy, depressive features like the misshapen, lumpen murk of a goldfish or other such mutated urchin.

Shyness, non-conformity. The courage of expression. How the gamin needs to bleed a little when they sing, the urban art-house angst like pained, droopy flesh torn in the gears of modernity.

The sculptor of verisimilitude, life-like and uncanny.

Lost in the flickering river of decrepit celluloid, like a faded and dying flower of human inspiration. Silver nitrates “killing you slowly” in an acrid bath of photo-room chemicals—crying mimes and angst-filled philosophers. Razor-tape, snipping scissors, and precise editing-room devotion. Giving one’s all and collapsing in exhaustion like sweet, unrequited death.

SHE. . . . . hashing over some obscure quirk in a movie, a hallmark pitch-shift, a change in tempo, a favorite scene—something odd & unusual. The grotto where you dwell. . . . .

Breathless and insistent, holding up an index-finger as if to pause all traffic. . . . . and recollecting herself as she expounds afresh on a different track. Holding her hand up—don’t speak—don’t ruin the moment—and then “release”. Am I man, or “Fifi” the French poodle on command?

The world needed a hero. Or visionary leadership in this non-volunteer democracy. Waking up to find “all wars fought”, as if “everything had been done”—and how the pillars of good citizenship may as well have wilted and withered into crushing apathy.

Freedom. . . . . horrible freedom. A power in negation, a wasted economy like an indented space on the couch. A veto, a thumb’s down. Everyone was a critic.

The air was stale, empty and thick. . . . . you could practically choke on it.

With art, perhaps came “too many choices” and the inability to concentrate one’s forces into a hard little nugget of unforgiving ownership. How to commit one’s obsession, one’s neurosis, one’s passion—and somehow turning it around into a profitable following.

But for naught. . . . . amid the metallic screech of starlings in some plaza of an old European capitol—the market segment of hungry dollars lost to crumbless anonymity, the faceless hordes.

Wretched, ugly humanity as impersonal social and marked forces crushed the weak underfoot.

The poet, joker, and thief—or the rapt, unblinking attention of “just anybody” before all the living sparks died in this cold universe– acceptance never your real home. Yes, that final emptiness at the center of that bottomless, swirling maelstrom found in desperation and unhappiness and seduction.

So it was, to “stand alone” and be judged and dissected. Even then, as the papparazi held up their popping flash-bulbs like a kind of obsessive-compulsive pecking of bottom-dollar tabloid interest—and the bodyguards held back the crush of onlookers.

Tell that to the young lordship of the remote control, for what makes the slit-eyed, lizardy interest perk-up from jaded slumber. How the forces of media production waved-in cranes and trucks and sets for you—just to lay down a slot of broadcast programming like an indifferent dish for your 13-28 target niche. And the union crew, hoggish and sweaty murmuring into walkie-talkies like expendable, reeking meat as “brand signifiers” were the order of the day.

More like corporate “shorthand” or associations with flippant, idle consumerism within arm’s length—even as your thicker service economy thralls saluted with a spatula and got back down to work in a pizza parlor. Time was money. . . . . and convenience blessed “the spoiled”.

Lo, the mortification.

Sure, the technology and modes of production were at our hands—making the personal, political readily enough with “DIY” or do-it-yourself workshop culture.

But somehow it all got pulled-down in the common Marxist sloth. . . . . doing what came naturally, “what was easier”, anyway.

As the omniscient Marlboro cigarette was flecked between twiggy fingers in dodgy cultural cachet paid for, with a song. Tear it up into a million pieces—or maybe we were just the inhabitants of another mostly-wasted art period.

oscar  sherri_bobbins_alt

Black Crepe Flocks & Silver Celluloid Dreams

Princess Brat Hostess

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For youthful, fresh perspectives– you can’t go wrong with local community radio as kids have the naivete and faithlessness to declare themselves a punk princess impressio in a doll-house of young, kicking energy for the sake of local interest and avoiding true career callings. Lydia runs along the punk/artistic circles and gleefully drags-along her clique of oddball friends, like “skate-rats”, “hippie-girls”, and street characters as they bicker around themselves and fill in stretches of dialogue in the glittering hang-out of Utopia Studios.

The odd, the strange, the unusual, the transgressive– bands playing and imagery flashing on from a projector “like a real head-trip”. Below is footage of Nirvana playing at a campus studio up at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. You can see ingenious blue-screen tricks and some of what’s in the background is from Haxan, a 1922 Swedish/Danish film that was once narrated by Beat oddball, William S. Burroughs.

An hallucinogenic trip for kids dancing and writhing in the strobe-lights to strange energies as it gives you more of a feel for who Lydia is, or what’s true to her character as you can’t write-down this stuff, necessarily– only watch and appreciate.

Coming to a theater near you, “Beetlejuice 2”!!

(– At least how I see it. . . . .)

Princess Brat Hostess