Lucien Storm: with kindness in his eyes and a fire in his heart (STL Shines)

Happy Wednesday!

Sorry for the late posting. Monday was a struggle after a busy holiday weekend, Tuesday was busy with work, but here I am today bright eyed and bushy eyebrows! orca-image-1509586175703.jpg_1509586175829

Welcome to my first installment of the experimental series of profiles on rising St Louis stars and artisans.  This week we’re featuring the equally talented and beautiful Lucien Storm.  Without further ado, let me introduce this weeks guest:

Lucien Storm greets me at the door of his home, located in Ferguson, a small city inside St Louis North County.  Storm stands tall, or at least tall to me, with out a sense of inflation, “Welcome to Storm’s Hollow”.  

Entering Storm’s Hollow is an experience I won’t soon forget, the anteroom serves as a hub for the rest of the labyrinthine.  A mural of a tree climbs up the right angled stairs, straight ahead through a door frame I can see a table which appears to have a gigantic body shrouded laying on top, however despite my curiosity and anxiety (both stemming from a mounting sense of excitement) Lucien directs me to the left through a door way into a room straight out of my dreams: book shelves (filled with books and just books) from  floor to ceiling, a fireplace, exposed ceiling allowing the century old wood to show off how well it’s aged, a Ouija board and  some faux candles “float” (fishing line from the ceiling) above a coffee table which sat in between two lush period appropriate wooden chairs the style where the apolstery is attached by patina penny coloured studs.  Storm’s Hollow is one of most home feeling places I’ve ever entered, which as Mr. Storm explains to me is the purpose of his Hollow: a safe place for friends, family, and community.

“Storm’s Hollow is our home, but isn’t just a home.  It’s a space for crafting, hosting, a community center for the pagan/alternative community, and fire and burlesque performance troupes.”  Mr Storm explain.  The primary fire and burlesque troupe that takes refuge in Storm’s Hollow is a cooperative called Hidden Flame.  Hidden Flame will be performing at the Lantern Festival 4th and 5th of November in Eureka MO.

However Storm’s Hollow is more than just a community center and gathering place for makers and performers.  Lucien Storm shared with me a glimpse into the future of his vision, something I’m calling “Storm’s Hollow 2.0”, “What I would like to eventually expand into is building an earthship home (an eco-home built into the earth from re and up cycled products).”  From there he plans to expand into offering classes to other people seeking to build their own earthship and learn more ecological living, and then long term he would like to build an eco-friendly community of earthships somewhere near the St Louis area.

Tune in Friday for the weekly funny! This week is inspired by my mystery guest from Friday the 13th comic

Lady Sugar Skull

May I present “Lady Sugar Skull”?

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Friday the 13th (special comic)

Happy Friday!

As I mentioned earlier this week there are some really excellent bands putting on shows this weekend and in celebration of Friday the 13th I made a comic for the band playing tonight with an extra surprise…

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First comic I’m using coloured pencils versus markers and I’m pretty happy with the results.  

If you see me out tonight or tomorrow night, feel free to say “hi” (it’d help if you explained where you recognise me from, just sayin’).

Tune in Monday for the weekly Mystery (I think it might be a book review, but there’s the mystery: WHAT BOOK?!)

-fin

The Nekromantix (Band)

Happy Wednesday!

Welcome back for a special limited return of Rewind Wednesday(1).  As I promised, this  week’s edition of Rewind Wednesday is some what Hellbound, as in when I found out The Nekromantix are putting on a show at the Fubar this Friday the 13th I decided it was time I worked through their discography proper starting with their first album “Hellbound”.

Nekromantix_-_Hellbound_cover

That hair tho…

In The  Nekromantix’s, a psychobilly band from Copenhagen,  near 30 year existence, The Nekromantix(2) has had an appreciable growth spurt starting with their 4th album “Demons are a Girl’s Best Friend”.  This is not to say that the first three albums are rubbish, because they’re not, as I really love “S&M” on Curse of the Coffin,  “Bloody Holiday” and the titular song on the Brought back to Life (again) album. After that I feel like to date the strongest album is “Life is a Grave and I Dig it”.

220px-Nekromantix_-_Life_Is_a_Grave_&_I_Dig_It!_cover

Life is a Grave and I Dig it – track list

  1. “NekroHigh”
  2. “Horny in a Hearse”
  3. “Life Is a Grave & I Dig It!”
  4. “My Girl”
  5. “Rot In Hell!”
  6. “Voodoo Shop Hop”
  7. “Cave Canem”
  8. “Flowers Are Slow”
  9. “B.E.A.S.T.”
  10. “Anaheim After Dark”
  11. “Fantazma”
  12. “Panic at the Morgue”
  13. “Out Comes the Batz”
  14. “Anaheim After Dark (instrumental)”

There are no bad songs on this album, just songs that are less excellent than the par the majority of the album sets.  The only songs I don’t feel are excellent on this album are tracks 1, 5, 7,  8, 10, and 11 and that’s from one or two passes.  Honestly track one  opens real strong and  is a good song but gets waaaay out shined by the next track (which might be my second favourite song on the album, I really love the “staccato galloping” sound that sounds like spoons or drumsticks in “Panic at the Morgue”).  Overall this is the general pattern for this album, like they knew they had a solid 8 songs and another 6 good ones.   The way the track list is set up, it seems to be the case to me.  1 good, 2 – 4 solid, 5 good, 6 solid, 7 and 8 good, etc.

I’m really excited for their St Louis show this Friday night at the Fubar.  Tickets are $13 and the show starts at 7pm.  Ticket information here.

As if it wasn’t enough that The Nekromantix are playing here in St Louis on Friday the 13th (when I’m available to go and with a hot date) but…

THE MOTHERFUCKING CREEPSHOW ARE PLAYING THE SAME VENUE SATURDAY THE 14TH!!!

If you’re not a regular here, you may not appreciate why my energy levels are so high about The Creepshow but however the short version is they’re my favourite band and I. Cannot. Stop. Writing. About. Them.(3)

I’m also going to The Creepshow’s show the next night, same place and time but tickets are only $12.  Ticket information here.

Tune in Friday for the a special “Friday the 13th” comic (A WILD NEW CHARACTER MAY APPEAR…)

-fin

 

Footnotes:

  1. I’m practically counting this week a holiday week however I have also learned from this week that I cannot keep up with more than a column and a comic weekly plus my other projects plus my day job, with any regularity.  If anyone wants to take up the column though, feel free to contact me.
  2. I’m playing the “proper collective noun game” here because “The Nekromantix” is Kim Nekroman and his Coffinbass (a custom double bass shaped like a coffin with a big black cross for a head) as they’re the sole consistent members of the band over the years.
  3. Counting the current post, this will be the 6th time I’ve written about them:

    My first Rewind Wednesday – “The Creepshow (band)”

    A Sketch inspired by their song “The House on Cherry Hill”

    Another Rewind Wednesday playlist themed on female punk rock lead singers

    Playlist of Punk Rock songs featuring harmonica

    And the last time they were on tour and came through St Louis whilst I was in the UK

Never Let Me Go (Book Review)

ANNOUNCEMENT My housemate and I were attacked whilst riding bikes around South City on Friday night.  After giving our statement to the police they told us there’s been 13 reported assaults (also my friend was robbed and my next door neighbor’s house was broken into all on Friday night).  I know not all of you are St Louis based but if you are please stay safe out there folks.

Happy Monday!

Just before leaving the UK a friend of mine, a fellow foreigner (I being American, her Thai), gave me a few books that she’d read and didn’t want to take home with her when her time came.  My friend she described this and another book, The Pesthouse by Jim Crace (which I will also be writing a review about), as “the kind of book that when you finish it, you want to toss it against a wall”.  I’m not entirely sure what she meant by that, whether she meant she liked or disliked them so much to cause a burst of such passion but these books did evoke a strong emotional response, one in each direction (one good, one poor).  Originally I was planning to do a double review both books seem to tell similar stories but I ultimately nixed the idea because I found I had too much to say about each book.

never let me goNever Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro is what I call a “light dystopian” novel or a novel where the dystopian aspect isn’t entirely prominent in the story’s setting but still plays a vital role in the plot.(1)  The story follows a trio of friends (Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy) from childhood in a boarding school to adulthood in a narrative that can be equally classified equally as an coming of age or mystery or love story.  

 

The dystopia angle of this book wasn’t clear to me from the beginning as it took me until about chapter 7 (p70 – 81) to appreciate what was happening and why, however I believe that subtlety is intentional in Ishiguro’s enigmatic stream of consciousness type writing style presented in Never Let Me Go.  Ishiguro’s attention to detail from the chapter lengths nearly all being a measured 10 pages in length(2) to his ability to weave extremely non-linear story without losing narrative focus is extremely impressive.  

I’m going to be honest: I didn’t fall in love with this book right away but what gripped me from the beginning was Ishiguro’s drumhead tight prose and conversational style that feels so very casual, as if Kathy is just having a conversation with the reader about her memories, that a trick is played where it looks as if storytelling is an effortless endevour that anyone who’s ever told a story can embark on.  However now that I’ve finished the book, in the process it wrung a pint of tears from my eyes, I realise that my reluctance to love this book didn’t come from any lack of quality or resonance but that like the characters in this book, I was holding on to previous feelings about the last book I read (The Pesthouse) and not letting myself be entirely receptive to what Never Let Me Go could offer until it was nearly over.  I say this with intention of being the highest of compliments: I will be re-reading this book at least a couple more times.   

 

Footnotes:

  1. Contrast this with a “heavy dystopian” novel such as The Road by Cormic McCarthy and the distinction becomes clear (or so I hope).
  2. This technique adds to the subtle power of the style by reinforcing expectations for each chapter to be a specific length which when that pattern is broken in later chapters leaves an unconscious impression on the reader.         

***SPOILERS BELOW***
Continue reading

WANTED: Fin and Louie (2017 Birthday Comic)

Featured

Happy Friday!

Remember last year’s birthday comic?

fin-birthday-comic-final

2016 Birthday comic

Copy of Wanted Western Themed Party Invitation Flyer Template

Keep tuned in, I won’t make you wait another year to get resolution to this story line (maybe just like 300 some odd days, hopefully less).

I want give a big thank you to my very funny friend Chad Wallace, a local St Louis stand up comic, for introducing me to the website postermywall.com which is where I made today’s web in less than 5 minutes and I’m sure it looks like it too however this site is really great for making very fancy and professional looking posters, pictures, invites, and more.

Officially my birthday is tomorrow and I’m having a birthday party which may, according to “a Christian numerologist”, double as an “End of the world” party. (seriously if you need a good laugh, read this article “DOOMSDAY IS COMING” Is the end of the world on September 23” from scarcasticandshameless.com) so you all have my personal permission to GET REALLY FUCKING WEIRD THIS SATURDAY! (This is not legal, ethical, nor moral advise but I think it’s pretty sound advice)

Be safe folks and if the world does end: fuck it dude, it’s been a fun ride.

-fin

Who I Am and What I’m Here For

Hey guys! Welcome to my Tuesday column on Offbeat On Point! This is my first post and I’m on somewhat shaky ground here, so bear with me.

My name is Brad Evans. Well, actually, no it isn’t, but that’s the moniker I’ll be using here. I am a long-time friend of Fin Louie; we’ve been kicking it off and on for the last 10 years. We share a lot of common interests, but our personalities are like Yin and Yang. Where I am casual he can get intense, and vice-versa. Where he is actively bold, I am passively reserved; but don’t let that fool you, there’s a lot going on in my head.

yinyang

I’ve been keeping up with his posts here for a while now and asked about a month ago if he could use a co-editor. The rest, as they say, is history.

A few things about me:

  1. I am a young man in my twenties living in St. Louis, and a student of Creative Writing at Webster University.
  2. When I was eighteen, I took a break from school, and didn’t go back for quite some time. While I was out I had a variety of adventures. I went to music festivals. I had two apartments and Fin and I even shared a house at one point. I quarreled with friends, lost some and made some more. I was a General Manager of a restaurant, and various other adventures.
  3. I am a voracious consumer of fantasy and science fiction.
  4. I play video games on Xbox One; currently I’m on Fifa 17 and OverWatch. They are like crack to me.

That’s just for starters. I feel like this is also a good representation of who I am as a person: recently I had a birthday, and what I did for fun was to go see the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie (which was phenomenal by the way) and then read about 100 pages of a graphic novel. I also spent a lot of time with friends and family, but the peaceful nerdy stuff is what I really liked. To me, that was an excellent birthday.

Here’s what I’m going to be bringing to this blog:

Tuesdays I will be posting thoughts about literature I have consumed.

Saturdays I will be posting literature I have created. Short stories and poetry and the like.

I doubt if either of these columns will be regular events. Sporadic, at best, really. But for the immediate future I have a few poems to share on Saturdays, and a whole list of books to read/review this summer. A few months ago I discovered a love for audiobooks, and I will be reviewing those as well: not just for the content but for the ability of the narrator to do it justice.

We have plans in the works for a “Sunday Round-up” type of post, conveniently summarizing all the week’s new material. This is still a tentative plan, though, so don’t look for it right away.

Here’s some of the material I have lined up to review:

The Road by Cormac McCarthy. This book comes highly recommended by just about everyone and I’m looking forward to getting into it.

The Road

The Dresden Files graphic novels. DF has been a favorite book series for a long time; I have read every book at least three times, and recently laid hands on an omnibus of the first two books in graphic novel form. So far, it’s amazing, but also flawed and I’ll get into that in a future review.dresden graphic novel

The audiobooks of The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. Two books I consider modern classics, in audiobook form.

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The audiobook of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Less classic and less artfully written, but still a fun read: does the audiobook hold up?

Ready Player One

The audiobook of American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Widely considered a modern classic, this book is now being made into a television series being broadcast on Starz in America and Amazon Prime in the UK. I’ve read it before, but the audiobook is FULLY CASTED – meaning a different voice actor for each character. That’s different than any other book I’ve listened to so far, and I’m intrigued at that prospect.

American Gods

Novels from an author I have not read before but who comes highly recommended by a professor at my university: China Mieville. I have Embassy Town, The City and the City, and Perdido Street Station lined up for summer reading. May as well talk about them, too, right?

And that’s just what I’ve come up with so far, but like I said my posts might be sporadic. I’m doing this for the enjoyment of it and don’t want this to become like a job with deadlines that I’m racing to meet. All the same, I’m looking forward to getting started around here.

Thanks for reading, everyone.

-Brad Evans

 

Summer 2017 (Comic and Announcements)

Happy Friday!

Got a comic and some announcements today.

Comic:

summer 2017

Announcements:

Growing Staff, New Columns, and Fan Art:

I have brought on board a co-editor/writer and he will be writing here a few times a week.  We’re still discussing column ideas but we are going to have a dedicated book column on Tuesdays, I will still be doing book reviews on Mondays whenever I don’t have another mystery lined up.  We are talking about doing a Saturday column for poetry and short stories and such.

I am still looking for writers, content editors, etc.  If you’re interested feel free to contact us and let us know why you feel like you’d be a good addition to the obop team.

Speaking of contacting us, if you follow my instagram (@fin.louie) you’ll have seen I got my first pieces of fan art!

Business Card 1Business Card 2

This has inspired me to start a fan art page.  If you would like to send me any fan art, feel free! We love getting stuff like this over here! I got these pieces a solid three weeks ago and I’m STILL buzzin’!

Coming Back to St Louis:

I’ve had my old job offered back to me and a place to stay in St Louis which, being a hobo, I had to follow the work.  I was originally planning to fly to San Francisco for the summer, but not this year.

Speaking of work, I have always had plenty of ideas for the blog, not only how to entertain you in a variety of unique ways, but also help expand my audience base.  I’m going to be making stickers and business cards this summer and leaving them around town.  If you find one, take a picture and tag me on instagram (@fin.louie), twitter (@offbeatonpoint), or facebook (offbeat on-point page) and who knows? I might send you stickers or other swag.

Branching Out into Podcasts/Youtube

I’m planning to make a podcast radio show either in tandem with Rewind Wednesday or in addition to it, either way I won’t entirely drop Wednesday.  Also I’d like to get some interviews on skype or something to upload for youtube, like for a band, or a local artist, or what have you.  Speaking of youtube, I’ve been thinking about trying to make a Fin & Louie animated short.  I have never done animation before but then again I haven’t done a lot of the things I’m doing before.

Tune in Monday for even more future speculation!

 

Punk Rock Girls (playlist)

Happy Wednesday!

Image result for punk rock girl

That hair tho. 

I like the punk rock look.  Guy, girl, whatever. A well placed piercing, a few tattoos, and a healthy dislike for the establishment will get my attention and is the theme for the songs I have for you today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I read the drummer, Matt “Pomade” Gee, from my favourite psychobilly band, The Creepshow, is in a punk band called “Rehab for Quitters“.  I already like the drummer in the The Creepshow and the name of the band was funny enough I needed to look it up and Punk Rock Girl was the first song I listened to which inspired today’s post.

 

Streetlight Manifesto is one of the first ska bands I listened to. My first ska band was a live The Toasters show we got free tickets for from the local St Louis station 88.1 KDHX(1) who pretty frequently gives away free tickets to local shows.  This is a cover, the original is by The Dead Milkmen on the album Beelzebubba but I like this version better because the horns.  This is my favourite stanza

We went to the Phillie Pizza Company
And ordered some hot tea
The waitress said “Well no
We only have it iced”
So we jumped up on the table
And shouted “anarchy”
And someone played a Beach Boys song
On the jukebox
It was “California Dreamin'”
So we started screamin’
“On such a winter’s day”

 

Me and Dr. Frank have both decided that we love
Them more than toast

I don’t know if I like anybody more than toast. Wheat toast with butter and strawberry jam(2) has yet to let me down.

 

Footnotes:

  1. They have this excellent ska and punk show “Ska’s the limit” with JJ Loy on Saturday nights and Thursday they have a rockabilly show called “The Greaser’s Lunch Box” with Al Swacker and you can stream KDHX live from anywhere via their website and whether you’re a St Louis native or not I highly encourage you to do so because they have almost 80 different shows, each about two hours, spanning all genres of music, it’s commercial free, but the absolute best part are the personalities behind the microphones.  They’re all colourful and wonderful and funny and interesting and sometimes you really get attached to some of these guys.  There used to be this guy, Bob, who had a show Bob’s Scratchy Records.  Bob loved hid scratchy vynals and his stories.  “Bob’s Scratchy records is a hallucinatory, rabble-rousing radio program that weirds up the airwaves every Friday from 2pm4pm on St. Louis’ KDHX (88.1 FM) Bob Reuter takes you on an emotional roller coaster featuring the rawest blues, soul, gospel, hillbilly, rock & roll, and whatever else falls on the turntable.”   I had a lot of good times listening to his radio show before he died August 2013.  I remember final episode.  It was rough.  There’s not much left as far as archived episodes but this is my first time hearing Bob’s voice, here at his bandcamp page.  The world is a smaller place with out Bob.    
  2. Strawberry jam is my favourite.

Good Morning, Mr. Magpie (Urban Legends #2)

Happy mystery Monday!

Several months back, I did a post on an urban legend from my home town of St Louis about the spooky Zombie Road and to quote one of my favourite you tubers, Ross Scott of Accursed Farms, “Like a porn series that already knows it’s going to have a sequel, I’m putting a big number 1 in the title.”, I named the last post “Urban Legends #1” because I knew that this is a subject that I would like to revisit because I value the tradition of story telling and urban legends are something I feel like are waning in style.  I don’t mean to say I feel like they’re going obsolete nor that I believe there will ever be a time we move away from them, in fact Slender Man is arguable proof that urban legends are alive and well(1), however there are smaller local legends that rarely leave the city or place of their origin unless told and retold by wandering bards(2), like yours truly.

This one, however, is much less sinister then the two previously mentioned but none the less has an element of morbidity which, I’ve come to terms with, is quite an attractive element in stories to me(3).

scary-stories-to-tell

This was one of my favourite images from the my favourite anthology series “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark”.

I first learned about this story because I was walking with a friend and we saw a solitary Magpie and she saluted it and said “Good Morning, Mr. Magpie. How are the wife and kids?” and kept going like it was something completely normal well adjusted adults do.

magpie

Just in case if you didn’t know what they look like. I had never seen any before coming to England.

And I’m not one to judge I talk to animals and plants like they’re people all the time however, never have I ever considered saluting one (or anyone for that matter). I asked and they just told me “That’s just what you do when you see one alone.” and then recited the following nursery rhyme:

One for sorrow,

Two for joy,

Three for a girl,

Four for a boy,

Five for silver,

Six for gold,

Seven for a secret never to be told.

“Brilliant. That Explains everything. ಠ_ಠ”

So I did what I do and learned a few things about the magpie and why this became a thing.

I learned that magpies, like many species of bird, mate for life and that seeing a solitary magpie is a sign of sorrow because it can mean the solitary bird has lost its mate and if you see two it is a sign of joy ergo the rhyme “One for sorrow; two for joy…”.  The salute is a sign of respect, similar to tipping of the hat, and asking after its wife and kids is to assume that it just happens to be away from the family.

The rest of the rhyme comes from a tradition of divining the future based on the behavior of birds called “Augury”, IE if you see five magpies you’re in for some money.

augur-magic

I *finally* understand the name of this card.

The depth of the myth goes on with variations of the rhyme, why magpies are bad luck (or in Chinese symbolism, they’re actually good luck), and different ways to ward off the bad luck crossing a singular magpie.

If you have a piece of urban lore you want to share, please feel free to leave a comment below about it.

 

Footnotes:

  1. Slender Man seems to fit the definition of “urban legend” as provided by dictionary.com

Urban Legend (n)

a modern story of obscure origin and with little or no supporting evidence that spreads spontaneously in varying forms and often has elements of humor, moralizing, or horror
2. I realise that “bard” is defined as “one who composes and recites poems” and as I do write poetry (rarely) but do not identify as a “poet” I am abiding by the archaic Greek definition of poet meaning “maker, author”, the use of poetry can be seen as recently as 1821 by Percy Shelly‘s essay “A Defense of Poetry” which is an excellent and extremely empowering read for any writer.
3. In talking to one of my friends about some of my favourite authors, bands, poets, movies, video games, and the stories I’m working on she said to me “Fin, I think you might be a little death obsessed.”  Now I’m taking a Victorian Gothic Horror class at university and I kind love it.  Love thy self, right?