Archive for the ‘Vampires’ Category

Let’s give the piece its exact title, “The 100 best horror films,” subtitled “The best horror films and movies of all time, voted for by over 100 experts including Simon Pegg, Stephen King and Alice Cooper, and Time Out writers.”  The byline (that is to say, the TIME OUT writers themselves) is to Tom Huddleston, Cath Clarke, Dave Calhoun, Nigel Floyd, Alim Kheraj, and Phil de Semlyen and it was posted Friday April 13 2018 on the British site TIMEOUT.COM.  So how can you go wrong?  And, credit due, it comes to us courtesy of C.M. Saunders as mentioned in an interesting review on his blog of the Spanish film [REC] — one of the relatively few “found footage” films that really works — for which one can press here.

But to the main event, quoting the “Time Out writers” (as well, credit due, appropriating their title illustration):  For years, horror, unlike romance, action and science fiction, has been mistreated and subjected to vicious critical attacks.  For some, horror films are focused purely on provoking a reaction with little thought for ‘higher’ aspirations.  For others, they’re just a bit of fun.

Thankfully, it looks like the horror genre is finally getting the recognition it deserves, with recent releases getting Oscar buzz and proving to be box office hits.  To celebrate this often overlooked and thrilling genre, we approached horror experts, writers, directors and actors to help us chose the 100 best horror films.

Yes, I disagree with some, although if it is an endorsement of sorts I’ve seen or own well over half of these.  And everyone reading this will no doubt have their doubts about others, and possibly even criteria used to decide which is best.  And of course some favorites will fail to be there — we all have our tastes, yes?  But for me, also, part of the value of lists like these is finding the films I haven’t seen, but from the descriptions I might well want to.

So, giving a press here, shall we explore together?

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So, okay, cutting to the chase I’m scheduled for Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m for a half hour (well, 25 minutes anyway — cf. just below, August 26) reading, probably of stories from THE TEARS OF ISIS.  But here is the entire two-day schedule from the horse’s mouth, as it were, of readers and performers, poets and prose writers, some known to us from before, some unknown.  So if in the area this coming weekend do plan to stop by — isisnewit’s the FOURTH STREET ARTS FESTIVAL, with artists’ booths galore, but also the Writers Guild’s Spoken Word Stage on Dunn Street, just south of 4th.  While I, in the meantime, practice timed reads while making my final story selections.  (Hint: it’ll probably be a short curtain raiser followed by “River Red,” which I’d read once before a few years back and had gone over well then, set in the TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH universe although actually printed in TEARS.  Two birds with one stone, eh?)

So read, plan, enjoy:

When:
September 1, 2018 @ 10:00 am – September 2, 2018 @ 6:00 pm

Spoken Word Stage at 4th Street Arts Festival

Presented by the Writers Guild at Bloomington
Supported in part by the Bloomington Arts Commission

Labor Day Weekend
Saturday, September 1: 10am – 6pm
Sunday, September 2: 10am – 5pm
Intersection of Dunn and Fourth Streets
Fourth Street Festival of the Arts and Crafts
http://www.4thstreet.org

Save the Date!

Now in its 8th year, the Spoken Word Stage at the 4th Street Arts Festival is one of the largest literary performance events in the Midwest, featuring storytelling, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, live radio theatre, and other unique collaborations.

And of course, the ever-popular Poetry on Demand table will be staffed with a fleet of poets armed with typewriters ready to deliver!

SCHEDULE SUBJECT TO CHANGE!
CHECK BACK FOR UPDATES!

SATURDAY SEP 1
10:30 . 5 Women Poets (poetry)
11:00 . Patsy Rahn (poetry)
11:30 . Merry MAC Players (theatre)
12:30 . Shana Ritter (poetry)
1:00 . Maria Hamilton Abegunde (poetry)
1:30 . Fig Tree Fellowship Radio Players (audio theatre)
2:30 . Mary Pat Lynch (fiction)
3:00 . Juliana Ramos Crespo (fiction)
3:30 . James Dorr (horror fiction)
4:00 . Shakespeare’s Monkey (poetry band)
4:30 . Erin Livingston (poetry)
5:00 . Butch D’Ambrosio (sonnets)
5:30 . Stephen Vincent Giles (storytelling)

SUNDAY SEP 2
10:00 . Eric Rensberger (poetry)
10:30 . New Leaf-New Life (poetry and fiction)
11:00 . Adam Henze (poetry)
11:30 . Monroe County Civic Theater
12:00 . Joan Hawkins (fiction)
12:30 . Lisa Kwong (poetry)
1:00 . Jasper Wirtshafter (poetry)
1:30 . Arbutus Cunningham (storytelling)
2:00 . Richard Hague (poetry)
2:30 . Cricket’s Bone Caravan (audio theatre)
3:30 . Michael Brockley (poetry)
4:00 . Jeffrey Pearson (poetry)
4:30 . Bloomington Storytellers Guild 

Well, it’s been rather longer for my attendance it would seem, but this fall’s edition of “Last Sunday Poetry Reading and Open Mic” (cf. September 24 2017, et al.), co-sponsored by the Bloomington Writers Guild and the Monroe County Convention Center, came back from its summer break this afternoon.  Featured were Lisa Kwong who we’ve met before (see July 17 2016, et al.) reading selections from a new chapbook MS-in-progress, and PDVNCH who we’ve also just met (see August 5) with work from several poetry books he’s had published.  After the break, when “Open Mic” time came I was third of five, reading the first of three four-minute sets I’d recorded for local radio station WFIU’s “The Poets Weave” (see August 8) from my VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) collection, the poems themselves being “La Méduse,” “Vampire Thoughts,” “Daylight Savings,” and “Night Child.”

With the city’s “4th Street Arts Festival” coming up in just under a week plus “Frankenfest,” celebrating the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN (cf. August 21, 5), coming up in October, this fall is shaping up as an especially busy one locally for the written and spoken arts.  To help keep on top of things, one may want to check out the Bloomington Writers Guild’s website (as well as these pages) by pressing here.

Yesterday saw the arrival of STAR*LINE 41.3, for summer, in the computer cave’s postal mailbox.  My entry in this is “What She Learned” (cf. July 15), on page 22, a humorous poem of a novice vampiress and how she was warming to her new career.  STAR*LINE is the quarterly publication of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association and with it came their annual DWARF STARS anthology of poems of ten lines or less, the best of which will be voted on by the SFPA membership.  More on it as well as STAR*LINE can be found on the SFPA website, for which one may press here.

Then speaking of vampires, this afternoon I read poetry at the Indiana University Radio-TV building for “The Poets Weave,” a series of five-minute poetry segments presented on WFIU, the University public radio station (see August 6).  I ended up reading three groups of four, three, and four poems each on the “who,” the “where,” and the “attraction” of vampirism, all from my 2011 collection VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE), preceded by brief quotations from Rudyard Kipling, Bram Stoker, and Sheridan Le Fanu, respectively.  According to coordinator LuAnn Johnson, these probably won’t be aired until fall, as the season of Halloween approaches, with more exact dates as they’re known to be reported here.

One gets used to visual media, reading on book pages, movies, even public readings as a sort of live play (see just below, August 5, et al.).  But what about only the words themselves, through the medium of sound?  And hence, in a sort of message tag known only to Facebook, a few weeks ago I received an invitation from LuAnn Johnson of WFIU, the Indiana University Public Broadcasting Station, dating back to about early spring.  Ms. Johnson runs a program called THE POETS WEAVE in which local poets read short groupings of their work on the air. Or more specifically:  Prepare to read one or more groups of POEMS.  Each group should be approximately 4 minutes in length.  Selections should be acceptable for broadcast, (i.e., non-sexually explicit, non-scatological, and expletive free), per FCC restrictions.  It’s best to time yourself reading aloud, and please bring a couple of shorter poems in case we have to exchange a longer one for time.

I’m not entirely new to this, actually, having done a few similar types of readings some years in the past, though the programs here are perhaps a little more complex, involving not only a host-read introduction of the poet, etc., but also from the poet one or more BRIEF QUOTES — anything relating to the poetry you’ll be reading (or poetry in general), or writing, reading, and life.  It can be your own words or from another writer/poet you admire.  You’ll read one quote for each show set, so do bring a copy of the quotes with you; the host will read your bio when she introduces the show.  And also there is that idea of more than just one performance, but perhaps several groups on successive programs.

Anyhow while it took some time (as well as some emails back and forth) to consider quotes, select and time groups of poems, and figure a structure for multiple readings, this afternoon I sent back a proposal for three groupings of poems on the overall topic of Vampires and Things Vampiric, divided loosely into “the Who” (to meet some vampires), “the Where” (on where they might hang out), and “the Attraction,” all from my collection VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE).  And graced with suitable quotations from Rudyard Kipling, Bram Stoker, and Sheridan Le Fanu respectively.

More as it develops.

The poetic cup runneth full this Saturday with proofs received from not one, but two upcoming publications.  The first in order of fulfillment, that is to say reading the proof sheet and sending it back with minor corrections, was from our fast-moving recent friend ALTERNATE THEOLOGY (ALTERNATIVE THEOLOGIES?), cf. July 1 and 2.  Either title seems to exist depending on the page you go to, but to the chase, my part is the poem called “Tit for Tat,” a “little Willie” in which our naughty lad finds the afterlife not as had been advertised.  The poem itself has been published before, originally in an anthology called GHOSTS:  REVENGE (James Ward Kirk Publications, 2015), but the subject seems one worth repeating and, with one or two minor editorial changes, has been returned.

Then a PDF for the Summer issue of STAR*LINE was perused, with my entry in this one a new poem, “What She Learned,” one of five accepted last February and four of which have already appeared in the current Spring issue (see May 16, April 11, et al.).  Things thus moving fast all around, within the hour that proof was returned as well to editor Vince Gotera with other information requested and a note that no changes were needed.

Wherever you are. . .  Wherever you go. . .  They’re coming to get you. . .  You cannot escape them. . . .  Well, yes, there are airline screw-ups too, the expected hazards of vacation travel, but what about something out of the ordinary?  Horrors to seek of your own free will?

Welcome, courtesy of Robert Dunbar via Facebook’s LITERARY DARKNESS, to Dennis Cooper’s “Halloween for Keeps:  25 Year-Round Worldwide slide_10Haunted and Horror Attractions” on DENNISCOOPERBLOG.COM.  You can’t even wait out the summer to dodge them!

They speak for themselves, in myriad countries, myriad cities, myriad fairs and amusement parks the whole world over, the U.S., Canada, China, Finland, Italy, Spain, England and Japan . . . but also accompanied by brief 7537233328_d6ec934ed2descriptions by author Cooper, plus clickable previews, some long, some short. . . .

Some tacky, some terror-filled. . . .

If you dare . . . press here!

Today’s street mail has brought the current (Spring, 2018) issue of STAR*LINE, the journal of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA).  This is the one that has four (count ’em, FOUR — cf., also, April 11, et al.) separate poems by me in it, granted short ones, but still four whole poems!  All of these are perhaps a little bit tongue-in-cheek, dealing as they do with the everyday problems of vampiresses on the run, sharks in mermaid-infested waters, zombie hunters seeking their prey, and love-smitten young men in Transylvania.  The poems themselves are scattered throughout the magazine (often tucked discreetly towards the bottoms of pages), the pages which they inhabit being 10, 18, 24, and 34, and with titles like “Never Trust a Vampiress,” “Oh No She Didn’t?,” “From The Zombie Hunters Field Guide:  Tracking the Zombie,” and “The Young Transylvanian’s Guide to Dating:  Taking Your Date Home.”

For those interested, more on STAR*LINE and the SFPA can be found by pressing here.

So call it two days late, THE SIRENS CALL #38, dated April 2018, is an enormous issue, some 186 pages in all with work crammed in it by forty-eight authors and poets.  With my part in this potpourri, “Casket Girls” (cf. April 3, et al.), not even listed until the top of the second contents page, there noted to start on page 137.  And not only that, you can read it for free!

“Casket Girls” is the origin story, as it were, of the coming of the vampiress Aimée — and “conversion” of les filles à les caissettes aboard the ship with her — to the New World from France, and is based on a New Orleanian urban legend.  Originally published in DAILY SCIENCE FICTION on April 10 2014, this latest spotting just goes to show that you can’t keep a bad girl down, especially should she have a desire to wander.

So even if you’ve met Aimée before, if you’d like to say “bonjour” again (and remember to scroll way, way down to page 137), press here.

Hark, the call:  It seems like everything’s finally settled down, fifty years into the twentieth century.  War is over.  The economy’s booming.  People are on a long exodus from the city.  It’s all settling.

But the occult lurks everywhere…

In sleepovers, as teenagers intone, “Light as a feather, stiff as a board.”  Or stare into the mirror, calling upon Mary.  They scream, convinced something looks back from inside the glass.

New music dominates the airwaves, discordant and wild.  They say it’s the devil’s music.

Strange lights dominate the sky.  Are they Russians?  Little Green Men?  Or something altogether stranger?

Perhaps things are not as settled as they feel. . .

So the job was to recall the 1950s with an occult flavor, the anthology to be called SOCKHOPS AND SEANCES.  Reprints would be okay.  It just so happened I had a story, “Bottles,” originally published in CROSSINGS (Double Dragon 2004; also reprinted in THE TEARS OF ISIS), set in 1958 Cambridge Massachusetts.  Historical accuracy would be insisted on (I lived in Cambridge from late 1959 to mid-1964).  But also with vampires, perhaps a bit chancy, or at least someone who believed in vampires combined with a period fear of Communism.  Still, why not, thought I?

And so today, May 1, International Labor Day, the reply came back from Editor Nicole Petit of publisher 18th Wall Productions:  Thank you so much for your submission and your patience as I deliberated on the stories sent in for SOCKHOPS AND SEANCES.  I am excited to tell you that we will be accepting “Bottles” into the anthology.

More to appear here as it becomes known.




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