Listen, big bottle of wine, you failed me. You were supposed to provide me with days of alcohol goodness with your plentiful liters of abundance. But instead, you lasted only three hours — two if you don’t count the 30 minutes it took to get you home from the liquor store and the 30 minutes it took to smoke that really big joint, since I also made that stop at the dispensary. (I won’t go into it here, but I did buy a big joint with the expectation that it would last longer than 30 minutes, but I digress … ) So anyway, how dare you lead me astray, big bottle of wine? How dare you not last the specific amount of time that I figured you would last when I bought you? When I first encountered you at your previous home at the Liquor Mart across town, I was hopeful that I would find a bottle containing your ample liquid bounty. The thing is, I had been buying regular bottles of wine that disappear after just a few glasses. And that is simply inefficient. So I figured I would scour the store for something less fleeting. Alas, I found it! Apparently there’s an entire back of the store that I had never seen since I was always so eager to start grabbing the front-of-shop booze. That’s where I found you standing so unassumingly on an end cap near the door with the “Employees Only” sign. I remember thinking, Now that there is one big ass bottle of wine! And then, after marveling at you, I thought, That big ass bottle would last me all week! Simply bursting with anticipation, I took you home and showed you to my roommate. “That there is one big ass bottle of wine!” she said. “This big ass bottle of wine should last us all week!” I exclaimed. Oh, how young and naive we once were. Upon the first pour, we filled our glasses up to the brim, said, “Cheers,” and then tried to clink them together. Due to the aforementioned big joint we had just smoked, our glasses never connected because we were incredibly stoned. That didn’t stop us from trying and missing again. At that point, we figured we should probably just concentrate on drinking your innards. And concentrate on your innards, we did! Ironically, we drank to quell our own emptiness, and in doing so, we contributed to yours. While that part is a little sad, (and probably metaphorical for how we all end up empty inside), I’m still angry at you. Angry as hell!!! ... Okay, okay. Maybe “angry” is too strong a word. Actually, big bottle of wine, now that I think about it, maybe I’m not “angry” at you at all. Perhaps I’m just disappointed. I feel like your sizable appearance belied a promise that no bottle of wine could ever keep. For in the end, nothing lasts forever. Big joints get smoked. Big bottles of wine get drained. And even all-you-can-eat restaurants like Furr’s Cafeteria close down forever. Oh well, big bottle of wine. Let’s remember the good times (that I have since forgotten because I drank you), shall we? And maybe next time I’ll get that big box of wine that was on the end cap across the aisle. That has to last at least a couple of days, right? TYLER GROSS, THRASHMANIA | BEST OF BIRDY FROM ISSUE 022, OCTOBER 2015


“Why did you bring her?” Collin asked as they got out of their vehicles beside the barn, frowning at the six-year-old girl hiding behind Alicia's purple-velvet cloak. “Don't be a dick,” Alicia said. “She's my cousin and no one else could watch her.” “So hire a babysitter.” “Nobody hires a babysitter when they have a teenager right there already. Her name's Clara, by the way. Clara, this meatwad is Collin, and that's Joe.” Luke, being Alicia's boyfriend and having driven them up to the farm, required no introduction. Fortunately Clara was not entirely shy, and the extravagantly dressed group clearly aroused her curiosity. “What are you?” she asked Joe, encouraged by his cheerful smile. Beneath his hooded black cloak (made with Alicia's help), he wore black pants, laced black boots, a black shirt and a vest embroidered in silver; on his waist hung a plastic-tipped épée and a sheathed dagger. “What am I?” he answered in a bad almost-English accent. “Bit of a scoundrel, bit of a lockpick, bit of a useful fellow to have around. But if you want to know who am I, the name's Timothy Vex, scourge of the highborn of Rania.” He placed one leg in front of the other and swept his arms dramatically in an exaggerated courtier's bow. “Pleased to make your acquaintance.” “He's a loudmouthed turd,” Collin grunted. “But we need a thief.” “Pay no attention to Master Barnabas,” Joe said, winking. “Every adventuring party has a pile of bricks to put between themselves and their enemies. Barnabas is ours.” Inside or outside the game, Collin was imposing: six-two, thick in the middle, with a glowering gaze and patchy beard. The mail shirt, bent-tin pauldrons, wooden shield and longsword only added to his bulk. “Why don't I have a costume?” Clara asked her cousin. “Because we picked you up straight from school. It's okay. We can still pretend.” “Actually,” Joe said, “I have just the thing.” They waited curiously as he opened the trunk of his Celica and returned to show them what he'd retrieved. It was a mask, bestial in aspect: ragged fur, curving yellow fangs, irregular black ears, and holes for the eyes. “Well, that's terrifying,” Alicia said. “Is that real fur?” “Real fur, real teeth, real everything. I think it was originally from some taxidermy animal, but someone cut it off and turned it into a mask.” “If it's taxidermy, what animal did it come from?” asked Joe, frowning. “You tell me. Bear? Wolverine? I found it in my grandparents' basement.” He nodded toward the country house further up the valley. “It's perfect,” Collin grinned. “Your cousin can be a kobold. She's got the hairy arms for it.” Alicia punched him, rattling his pauldrons. “There actually is a kobold in the story though,” Luke said. “It could work.” Alicia knelt and put an arm around her cousin. “You could run around and be all scary.” She made a monster face, hooking her fingers into claws. Reluctantly Clara took the mask. “Okay, everyone except Alicia inside,” Luke said, flipping through a story manual. “We're starting at an inn. Clara, you can be a serving wench. Like a waitress, but all you serve is ale, meat and bread.” “Little young to be a wench,” Alicia said. “Different kind of wench.” Alicia took a few seconds to get into character, then stepped inside and made a show of looking around before settling on the group. The three boys were seated on benches around a picnic table in the haystrewn barn (the busy inn), the afternoon sun streaming from the upper windows and falling dramatically upon the party. Gathering her cloak around her, she steered her way toward the adventurers. “Good evening, gentlemen. My name is Gemmes Sharn. I hoped I may have a word.” “You can have more than words, if you like,” grinned Joe. “Join us, have some ale!” At this a very young swerving wench swept up, holding a tray (a bit of plywood). “Would you like some ale?” “Yes, please!” Alicia said as she sat down. “What a delightful young wench! I will have one mug of ale.” The girl smiled and skipped away, and Alicia turned to the travelers. “Our meeting is no accident. I was sent to find you by my fellow mage, Tryan of –” “One mug of ale!” the wench said loudly, setting a water bottle on the table. “Would you like some meat or bread?” “Come on, now,” growled Collin. “We're trying to have a conversation.” “I would like one very special meat stew from your famous kitchen. Everyone says it's the best, but it takes a long time to prepare, and the servers will all have to help for at least five minutes in the kitchen. Understand?” She waved toward the kitchen (stable stalls). “One very special meat stew, coming up!” grinned the girl, running off. Alicia continued, “Tryan said you had found a strange scroll among the possessions of the Riktus King, whom you so valiantly vanquished some weeks ago. That scroll –” “Miss, do you want your stew spicy or mild?” came a yell from the kitchen. “Girl, if you don't stop interrupting us, I'm going to throw you in the street!” shouted Collin. “Gentle,” scowled Alicia. “It's in character,” shrugged Joe. She returned to the conversation at hand. “That scroll tells of a peculiar creature haunting the outskirts ...” She trailed off, turning, hearing a perturbing noise, a chuffing, barking voice coming from behind the plywood wall of the stables, speaking no recognizable words. Intellectually, Alicia knew it was Clara, acting the fool, but she could not connect it with the girl. The hair rose on her arms. Suddenly a small figure shot out from the stable toward their table, running on all fours. Without thinking, clearly startled, Collin leapt up from his bench, knocking it backwards, and the others had nearly as violent a reaction. The creature paused before them. Though small, its visage was a nightmare of fur and teeth, and its eyes were wild. It made a rasping cry and darted outside through the open door. “Clara!” Alicia said, shocked. “What the hell?” “Stay in character,” murmured Luke. “We can use this.” He reached into his white cleric's coat. “Your quest is timely, Gemmes. I have the scroll you speak of here. It is the account of a serpent monk of Sessu Goss, written in their hissing tongue, and it speaks of a creature he captured, a kobold. He sought to use the creature as a sacrifice to a dark god, but the sacrifice was rejected, and the subject escaped. Since then it has wandered the countryside, a creeping terror to the farmers and villagers. They say it cannot be killed.” 7

Alicia stood up. “We can look at the scroll later,” she said. “The answers I seek are with that kobold, and she is getting away.” Luke frowned. “But the scroll contains much knowledge ...” He started to unroll it, showing off the fancy (and entirely made-up) script he had concocted for it. “I want to check on her,” Alicia hissed. “That didn't seem pretty dramatic to you?” Luke shrugged. “She's your cousin. Is she not normally like that?” “No! Come on.” “This is why we don't have actual children with us,” groused Collin. “I don't know, she's a better actor than any of you,” rejoined Joe. “Freaked me out.” They went outside with Alicia in the lead, and she saw a small figure dart around the corner of the barn. “She's right there.” “Great,” said Luke. “She gets it.” He raised his voice. “Somewhere in this lonesome land lurks that dangerous creature. We must capture it and bring it to justice.” “And help it and heal it if we can,” followed Alicia. “It may be of predatory nature, but it is the evil influence upon it that has drived its hunger.” “Still, we must be careful. The scroll says that if killed, it will only return stronger and more dangerous than before.” Thus began the inevitable side-quest, which involved obtaining a charm from a shaman (also played by Alicia, with a quick costume change and a witch voice), defeating several bandits who had stolen said charm (allowing them to swing their swords around and Collin to knock the others to the ground with his shield). In all this time, though Alicia assumed her cousin was still just playing around the barn, she didn't actually see her, and finally, worried, she called a pause. “Let's take a break, I'm going to check on Clara.” In a few minutes she returned. “I can't find her.” Collin shrugged. “She's probably playing hide-and-seek. That's kind of the point, right?” “She's six years old. I should have been watching her.” “Where's she going to go?” Joe said lazily, waving a chocolate bar around the valley. “She didn't pass us, so I don't think she's in the woods. She's probably in the barn, hiding in the hay.” “Get up, help me find her.” “That's fine, it's where the story's going anyway,” said Luke. “When we capture the kobold, we must place the amulet around her neck,” – he held up a bird's skull on a cord – “then join hands and recite the sacred words: 'Elaseer ser pirith.' Then the possessing spirit will leave her.” “Let's find this bitch,” Collin growled. “Spread out.” First they looked carefully around the barn, kicking gently through the hay, climbing into the loft. They widened their search in expanding circles, checking behind some rocky outcroppings and in an old shed nearby, but Clara was nowhere to be found. “I really thought she was just in the barn,” Alicia said, clearly worried. “I mean, she's got to be around here, right?” Joe said, perplexed. “There's not, like, an old well or something she could have fallen into?” “She probably ran into the woods when we went up to the barn,” said Collin. “Clara!” she called out. “Clara, it's time to come out now. We need to go home soon. You win, it's time to come out!” They circled the fields, looking behind every boulder and tree, but the grass in the meadow was low and offered no cover for someone hiding. Inevitably they ended up in the woods by the creek, but if Clara was down there, she didn't answer their calls; and there were far too many hiding places to scour. Alicia tried to hold back her tears, but when Joe suggested checking his grandparents' house, with the sun nearing the mountains, she burst out sobbing. “What if she's hurt? Where is she?” “I'll check the barn again,” Collin said. “You guys check the house.” The barn had turned gloomy, its emptiness unnerving. He passed through it half-heartedly, kicking at the straw with his boots, thinking of how they might have to call a search party. Stupid kid. Alicia shouldn't have – Something dropped on him from above, knocking him to his knees. Then it was on him, clawing at his back, grasping his head. He swore, trying to toss the beast off, and it bit his ear with teeth that were sharp as knives, biting his ear off with a terrible pain of ripping flesh. He screamed, and with great force flung the creature off him and to the ground. It somehow landed on all fours, eyes gleaming yellow in the gloom, fangs glittering as it hissed. It leapt. Unthinking, he swung with his wooden shield with all his force. With a cracking sound his attacker was flung four feet and lay unmoving. After a stunned moment standing over that small body, he fell to his ass in the straw, clutching his torn ear (most of which – but not all – still remained), swearing and crying. When he was able to focus at all, he looked with terror at the small body before him, seeing the blue jeans and sweater, the soles of her cheap sneakers. Finally he got up and went out. He briefly considered getting in his truck and driving off, but he could not be blamed for what happened; his ear proved the matter. He met the others returning halfway between house and barn. “She attacked me,” he said, their eyes widening at the blood streaming between his fingers. “She was like an animal. She bit my ear.” “What did you do?” Alicia asked, shaking. “Where is she?” “In the barn. She attacked me.” Alicia ran, and the others followed. Collin had not yet caught up with them when she burst out from the barn. “Where is she?” she yelled again. “What did you do to her?” “She's in the barn,” he repeated, helplessly. “She attacked me, I swear. It was crazy.” “She's not in the barn! What did you do to her?!” “I didn't move her. She's there ...” He stumbled inside. Clara's body was gone. He had been certain she was dead, morally certain. “She was here. She was ...” He stopped short of saying it. “I'm telling you, she was like an animal, not – not human.” “What did you do?” He stumbled out of that suffocating space, seeing again the yellow eyes, the prominent fangs. The mask ... the mask had changed her. And the mask wouldn't let her die. Without another word, he rushed toward his truck, thinking only of flight, the others trailing in his wake. Behind him, like a giant's shadow, chased a fierce hunger.



MM, ONCE UPON A TIME BW X MM, WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE Mark Mothersbaugh and Beatie Wolfe go together like a stamp and a postcard. Both document our current time in tangible forms as artists, are accessible down to earth beings with no airs about them, and who take the road less travelled by being themselves, doing what they love and spreading inspiration, every, single day. So when Beatie first reached out to let us know about their new project, Postcards for Democracy, it couldn’t have felt like a more destined collaboration between these two rebels with a clause. Standing up for our freedom of choice, rights to creative expression and supporting longstanding systems which serve us — the people — by championing free speech, ideas, information, knowledge and tangible forms of creativity is at the core of this art demonstration. In light of the threat to our 225 year old United States Postal Service, at a time that could jeopardize the democracy of our country, Mark and Beatie are not only naturally stepping up, but bringing all of us with them. Postcards for Democracy aims to encourage as many people as possible to support the USPS at this critical time, our right to vote, and democracy as a whole via the power of art. The demonstration asks you to buy USPS stamps, design a postcard and then mail it to 8760 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069. The postcards will become part of a collective art piece presented in both a physical gallery and virtual space which will be directed by Mark and Beatie. We talked to Beatie and Mark to learn more about the project and why something as small as making a postcard can have colossal effects on all of our collective rights and freedoms. Beatie mentioned to us that you two set Postcards for Democracy into motion pretty fast and almost effortlessly, happening all within roughly a two week period of saying let’s do this! to launching the site and call for action for people to participate. How did you two come up with this idea in the first place? Mark Mothersbaugh: It was Beatie’s idea, to be accurate! We had been talking for sometime about collaborating on something together, but we weren’t sure what it should be. I think she just noticed that I was drawing on card stock roughly the size of postcards every time we chatted about something and that I was constantly posting images of that art, all over the place. So we talked about mail art, and I mentioned about my introduction to it back in the late ‘60s. Beatie Wolfe: Yes, I loved the idea of Mark and me creating an exhibition and installation of people's letters in lockdown (a kind of mailbox menagerie) at this time when physical communication is more important than ever and because of a shared love that we have of this lost art-form. And this became much more timely in light of recent events. So this project seemed to tick all the boxes of both where we meet artistically and what felt needed in the world right now. What’s your earliest/fondest memory of mail — receiving or giving — and/or the post office? BW: Well this isn’t my memory but a story told to me and it isn’t exactly fond, but it’s forever imprinted in my mind. It was my 3rd birthday and my mum was surprised that there was no card from my Grandpa. Then sadly we heard that he had died. A week later on the morning of his funeral an envelope, addressed to me in his handwriting and with blood on it, came through the door. On the back a stranger had written: "I found this in the street, and thought I'd better post it." It was my birthday card! MM: My family lived on a farm a couple of different times when I was young. And I remember watching for the mail truck to stop and leave things in our mailbox down by the road. I would run like mad to go collect post and bring it up to the house. This was the late ‘50s, and phone calls were expensive, and the internet didn’t exist, so people relied more heavily on postal service. It wasn’t uncommon for people to post a chat and wait a week to hear a response. I loved getting postcards and finding out someone in our family was brave enough to venture all the way to Niagara Falls. Mark — When we first went to your exhibition Myopia at MCA Denver in 2014, we saw thousands of your tens of thousands of postcards you created over the past several decades. Can you recall the first postcard you ever made? And what prompted you to start creating in this medium? MM: I don’t remember the first one but early on I got involved with the post-art movement that meant if you sent original postcard art to BW, MAIL US

BW, SPACE CHAMBER ZIGGY FLASH - (REAR) BW X MM, MYLAR FROM THE MOON Jasper Johns or Ant Farm, they might send you some art in return! And, this week, I just completed red book 500 (100 original pieces of artwork in each, starting in 1972) ... Now I can die in peace, knowing I reached that (at one time) unthinkable number. Beatie — Your lifework is committed to reuniting tangibility, storytelling and ceremony through exploration, innovation and activism in art and music. You’ve created numerous tangible forms of art from hand-held album viewmasters to a listenable record jacket. How is Postcards for Democracy an extension of this kind of work? BW: Because I'm constantly questioning what should be preserved, what could be updated, as well as what we might have lost along the way. The digital era created access, it presented solutions, but it also created the idea that we could fast-track a lot of what defined us as humans to begin with. Writing and receiving personal mail is one of those core endangered experiences that reconnects us with ourselves, and with one another, and helps to keep us alive inside. So as well as being a constant mailer myself, I feel like, at a time where humanity is more disconnected than ever, we have an opportunity to reassess what actually matters and reclaim some of what keeps us inspired, uplifted, connected as human beings. Because just like the mail, if we don't use it, we'll lose it! In a world ruled by digital communication, virtual worlds and instant gratification and response, why is supporting and preserving what some may dub “old school systems" like the USPS still a pressing issue? BW: Because we need things that imprint, that make us present. And mail (along with many other “old school systems”) does that. MM: Tangible communication, physical presence, is more important than ever in a world where we are one jackass joker away from the whole internet vanishing away from planet earth. At that point, the mailman will be the comrade who rescues us all from descending into chaos and oblivion. You both collaborated on several postcards for this project. How did you make these together? Describe your collaborative creative process. MM: Part of what makes the post office the post office is that they collaborate with you also, adding dates, and catchy phrases, and the occasional stain, so post art is always at least a little collaborative. And, leaving an image on Beatie’s graffiti-proof art pieces, was a challenge I wanted to take. BW: I sent cards to Mark and he sent some to me to build on. The cards I gave Mark were mainly made out of NASA-grade Mylar (leftover materials from my Space Chamber) which attempts to repel everything, including Sharpie ink, but he still found a way to leave his indelible Mark! What advice can you give those who want to participate but maybe say: “I can’t make art.” “I’m no good at art.” “I’m not an artist, not creative.” BW: I think we often impose limitations that don’t exist or need to exist. So my advice would be to just have a go. And we’ve had a lot of people share that this is the first time they’ve made a card. MM: You don’t have to call it art. That term does get bandied around a bit so leaving your mark can be called whatever you want. For a long time, I was a social scientist reporting the good news of de-evolution. You have a say, so say so!!! Participants are sending their postcards to 8760 Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood which will become part of a collective art piece — in both a physical gallery and virtual space — directed by you both. Can you give us a little sneak peek or teaser into what this will look like? MM: It will look like a heck of a lot of mostly handmade postcards! And other stuff people send instead. BW: In addition to a digital gallery and physical installation of some kind, we have a nice idea for creating a piece of art out of all the contributions that will combine man and the machine, beautiful music with synchronized visuals. What are other ways people can support our democracy and longstanding institutions that serve us — the people — during these times and beyond? BW: Start at home and believe that individual actions have the potential to make a world of difference. And take nothing for granted. MM: Stop and think about how fortunate you are to live in this flawed yet interesting time. Mark — You just survived a life-threatening battle with Covid-19. How has this impacted the way you now view and make art?

BW, SPACE CHAMBER ZIGGY FLASH (FRONT) BEATIE WOLFE’S RAW SPACE CHAMBER AT THE V&A FOR LONDON DESIGN FESTIVALS, PHOTO BY MARK COCKSEDGE MM: Yes, a side effect of the coronavirus was 10 days of ventilator and virus-induced delusions and hallucinations. I got a lot of paranoid pieces of art, and an album’s worth of Devo music and a renewed respect for all things living. Beatie — You beamed an album into space via the Horn Antenna. Are postcards next? ;-) BW: Ha! That’s classified information I’m afraid. Who is your dream penpal? MM: Timothy Leary, actually. We were close friends for his last 15 years, and he was the most optimistic, energetic, pro-celebrator of life I ever met, next to General Boy. BW: I’m working with him! And the wonderful Allee Willis, although I know she’s with us on this in spirit. You can send a postcard from anywhere. Where/when is your card postmarked? BW: Proxima Centauri, postmarked September 26th 2021. As my music would have reached it by this point, according to the wonderful astronomers at Mount Wilson. MM: West Hollywood. That’s where I’m locked down. Anything we missed? BW: We love you guys! MM: Yes, just to let you know, everybody I show birdy magazine to, no matter what they do, wherever they are in the world, they all think Denver is so lucky to have you! Keep up the good work! And please excuse my monovisioned typing, I’ve been 2-D since catching Covid-19. It’s not a joke, try to avoid it. 1. Buy USPS stamps (35¢ for postcards) 2. Make your postcard (or recycle someone else’s) 3. Mail it to 8760 Sunset Blvd West Hollywood, CA 90069-2206 And then what? The postcards will become a part of a collective installation — directed by Mark and Beatie — and exhibited in a physical gallery and virtual space as a testament to these times. Learn more at postartfordemocracy.com HOW YOU CAN PARTICIPATE IN POSTCARDS FOR DEMOCRACY AND DIRECTLY SUPPORT OUR UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE AND YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE!


DYAD – DORMANT Charles Ballas and Jeremy Averitt are perhaps better known for their participation in acts like Howling Hex and Esmé Patterson's live band respectively as well as their production work for Echo Beds. But DORMANT from their long-running collaborative project DYAD showcases their mutual knack for genre-bending IDM-esque soundscapes, freely blending elements of non-Western polyrhythms, intricate and textured instrumentation, luminous jazz keyboard progressions and tasteful electronic arrangements that convey an eclectic and international flavor. Imagine music equally influenced by Herbie Hancock, 80s Ethiopian synth pop, Daft Punk, Warp Records artists and informed by a deep sense of play, and you will have some idea of the soothing and imagination stirring quality of this music and its brilliantly new age downtempo future jazz sounds. EHPH – INFRARED This Denver-based electro-industrial duo minces no words on the opening track “Idiot” in its commencing sample “I'm gonna say one thing, fuck Trump.” And then on to choice sampling of 45s words and those of journalists cataloging some of his offenses against humanity. The menacing descending synth bass progression and minimalistic percussion puts the focus on the words. The rest of the album is less explicitly and specifically topical but it is the band's most fully realized and focused effort yet. The pulsing pace and Fernando Altonaga's distorted vocals draw you into meditations on the perils of creeping authoritarianism on “Tarnished.” The pastoral pace and deep melancholy of “Forever Haunted” resonates with the artfully despairing tones of the Closer period of Joy Division in the way its circular guitar line and synth melody rides a wave of personal revelation and the contemplation of an unrelievedly bleak future. eHpH has long been one of the more interesting modern EBM bands but Infrared demonstrates that the group of Altonaga and Angelo Atencio have fully integrated those roots with a more contemporary post-punk and darkwave sensibility, thus never sounding stuck in the past. HARD TO BE A KILLER: A TRIBUTE TO RALPH GEAN In an alternate universe Ralph Gean is a beloved rock and roll hero widely known for his brilliantly unique and off-beat songwriting. But the British Invasion derailed that trajectory and Gean instead has since become a bit of a legendary figure, with a cult following in Denver music, who has periodically played shows and is championed by figures as politically disparate as Boyd Rice (who compiled a collection of Gean's work in 2007) and Jello Biafra. That fandom is reflected on this sprawling tribute album assembled by Arlo White of Hypnotic Turtle Radio and bands like Deadbubbles and The Buckingham Squares. Every interpretation of Gean's songs is a worthy listen and a fine showcase for his sheer breadth as an artist. Contributions from local, experimental eccentrics like Little Fyodor & Babushka, Claudzilla, and The Babysitters lovingly capture Gean's essential appeal as an artist with an unvarnished charm and humor. Eric Allen of The Apples in Stereo fame highlights the science fiction cowboy persona that Gean could convey while White's band Diablo Montalban with the late, great eccentric DJ and Denver cultural figure Frank Bell give “Switzerland” a real dark exotica treatment reminiscent of weirder moments in Tom Waits' catalog. A fascinating portrait of an important yet often overlooked artist. IN THE COMPANY OF SERPENTS – LUX In the Company of Serpents has long been a band that has aimed to infuse its music with its interest in cinema, esoteric knowledge, literature, and how all of those come out of direct human experience, emotion and an attempt to make sense of life and imbue it with meaning. Lux is the fullest manifestation of those aims written into its most sonically dynamic set of songs to date. The crushing yet fluid heaviness of its sound is paired perfectly with elements of song that wouldn't sound out of place on a Spaghetti Western soundtrack. “The Fool's Journey” opens the record as a sort of map for the path set before us ending with the enigmatic “Prima Materia.” It's a musically diverse and rich album that places In the Company of Serpents apart from a mere doom band and more in the realm of Swans' and Neurosis' own heavy explorations of the human psyche. For more visit queencitysoundsandart.worpress.com

BY HANA ZITTEL LITTLE EYES BY SAMANTA SCHWEBLIN, TRANSLATED FROM SPANISH BY MEGAN MCDOWELL (2020) In Samanta Schweblin’s very near future, the newest tech trend does not come in the form of an app, tablet, or wearable gadget, but an adorable electronic creature that roams around your home like an obedient pet. The catch of these craze-worthy, Furby-like creatures is that the controller is an anonymous and randomly selected person from anywhere in the world. Dubbed kentuckis, people decide if they want to be a keeper or one who controls the kentucki. As most seemingly innocuous tech innovations go, the concept of implanting yourself among the life of another person takes many different eerie and disconcerting turns. The effect of this privacy invading invention is told through snippets that glimpse the lives of people around the world. Some have darker experiences, some marked by obsession, and none are without the eerie violation of privacy that lets us ruminate on what being alone really means. Schweblin has managed to master the ability to push forth the unmistakable feelings of complete unsettlement that manifests itself as suspense, mastered by the likes of David Lynch. Though you don’t always know what or why, you know something is horribly amiss and deeply wrong. Her excellent subtlety and ability to evoke these feelings make Little Eyes a literary journey into the horror of the modern world, creating a disturbing reflection of our darkest human urges. SAFARI HONEYMOON BY JESSE JACOBS (2014) Jesse Jacobs, like his fellow Adventure Time alum, Michael DeForge, provides darker and more psychedelic storytelling when untied from the constraints of writing for a children’s show. Though his comics maintain a goofy and almost adorable quality, Safari Honeymoon is filled with tongue-eating parasites, humandevouring monsters, and ethereal creatures that communicate through antennae. Safari Honeymoon begins with a couple’s honeymoon journey through a twisted jungle, led by a callous and trigger-happy guide who provides constant reminders that danger is always around them. Their journey begins idyllic and carefree, but deteriorates quickly as their disregard for local life comes back to destroy them. Jacobs captures the story using only shades of green and illustrations of animals and plants in this imagined world are laid out like Ernst Haeckel prints. A quick read, Safari Honeymoon manages to be a stomach-turning, psychedelic horror with a touch of humor. No. 82



Cody waited until he was sure they couldn’t see him before ducking around the far corner of the school, finding some bushes, and puking his guts out behind them. ‡ Cody snuck out through his bedroom window and made it to the baseball “That’s mine,” Cody said, hoping he sounded tough — if he did, maybe he wouldn’t have to fight them. “Give it back.” “Newbie wants his little cap back,” Rich, a senior and the biggest of the two kids said, sneering. He held the cap higher than Cody could reach. “Give it back to me now.” “Or what?” said Joey, the other kid. He was smaller than Rich, but not by much, which still made him bigger than Cody. “You gonna fight Rich for it? Be a big mistake, cap-boy. Maybe the last one you’d get to make. Ain’t that right, Rich?” Rich nodded. Cody’s stomach tightened and he hoped h puke. He felt tears trying to rise too. All he w was his cap back. His dad’s cap. It had the Atlanta Braves A on it, but they never called it the Braves cap. It was the Chemo Cap. Cody helped him pick it out not long after his dad started losing his hair. For a while, they’d thought about something with a funny or positive saying on it, or a stupid drawing. “Y’know, Code, my man,” his dad had said, “let’s go with Atlanta. Once we’ve got this thing beat, I’ll treat you to the Braves in the World Series next year. All four games. They’re going to sweep it. I’v got a feeling.” The Braves didn’t even make it to the post the next year, but they still did better than Codys dad. He didn’t make it even close to the start of the season. Last thing he did was put that cap on Cody’s head. Cody never took it off, except he had to today — first day of school in a new town, and no caps allowed in class. But the minute the bell rang and he got outside, he put it on. He didn’t even have time to get it settled just right — his dad wore it tilted a little to the left, and so did Cody — before Rich grabbed it. “Well?” Joey said, his voice cruel. “You gonna fight Rich for it or not?” “No need to fight,” Rich said, still holding the cap like a pennant in a game of capture the flag. “Let’s all just settle down a little while I explain to– ” Cody waited a moment before spitting out his name. “Cody.” “Right. To Cody here that he doesn’t have to fight for his cap. Not that fighting would do him any good, but there’s no need. We’re going to give him a chance to earn his cap back. Got a little job that he ought to be able to handle.” “What kind of job?” Cody said. Rich leaned close, his nose almost touching Cody’s. “Be at the baseball field tonight at midnight. Not one minute later.” Rich made a show of putting the cap on his own head. “If you’re too scared to show up, don’t sweat it. I sorta like the way this feels.” “Looks good on you, too,” Joey said. “Midnight,” Rich said again as he and Joey walked off, laughing. field with a couple of minutes to spare before midnight. Rich and Joey were already there, leaning against Rich’s red Mustang at the edge of the outfield. Rich was wearing the Chemo Cap. Cody hated the way it looked on him, but he kept his anger hidden and walked right up to the two assholes. “What’s the job?” “You’re gonna set the night on fire,” Rich said, lifting a gasoline can and shaking it. Cody heard the gas sloshing inside the can. When he stepped closer, he smelled it. He looked at the cap on Rich’s fat head. He thought he would do anything to get it back. Now, watching Rich put the gas can in the trunk, he wasn’t so sure. “Get in,” Rich said. “Front seat — between us.” t in. Rich started the car while Joey climbed he passenger side, digging Cody in the ribs h a hard elbow as he did. Cody gave him one ack, more to see what would happen than to do any damage, and was surprised when Joey didn’t do anything. Rich put the car in gear and peeled across the outfield, the tires kicking up divots. Cody hoped there weren’t any cops around. It was bad enough that his mom moved them to the sticks — farm country — to be near her sister, and bad enough was already made worse by Rich and Joey, and would undoubtedly take another downward turn or two whenever hey got to wherever it was they were going. e sure as hell didn’t need a cop busting them dalism or something. ut tee weren’t any cops, or even a school night watchman nearby to hear Rich peel off. They got away clean. Rich drove fast and had them outside the town limits in a few minutes, picking up speed as they headed out into farmland. “You know about the Corn Witch?” Rich said. Joey let out a nervous laugh. “Gives me the sheebie jeevies just hearing that name.” “Heebie jeebies, you dumb shit,” Rich said, no nervousness at all in his laugh. Only contempt. “Yeah, heebie jeebies. Gave me them, too.” “What’s a Corn Witch?” Cody asked. Rich lifted his eyebrows and grinned, the Chemo Cap rising as he did. His face looked eerie in the dim light from the dashboard instruments. Cody hated seeing the cap on him. “Not what,” Rich said. “Who.” “All right, whatever,” Cody said. “Who’s the Corn Witch?” He turned to Joey. “Stupid name, Corn Witch.” He was sure Joey flinched when he said it. “You won’t think it’s stupid if she ever gets ahold of you,” Joey said. “Will he, Rich?” “No. He sure won’t.” “Why’s that?” “Because she hasn’t fed for a while. A long while.”

“She’ll be real hungry,” Joey said. “So, what is it you want me to do? Burn the witch at the stake?” “You couldn’t get close enough,” Rich said. “Nobody ever has.” “Why not?” “She’s … protected. Lives in an old house. A hundred years old, maybe two. She’s been there as long as anybody can remember. Nobody knows for sure how long because nobody’s ever really been to it. You can’t get close because of the … scarecrows.” Rich said the word in what he must have thought was a spooky voice, but he just sounded dumb to Cody. “She has a circle of scarecrows around her house, and they protect her.” “Scarecrows?” Cody made the word sound as unspooky as possible. “You heard me,” Rich said. “You’ll see them in about five minutes, and you’ll know what I mean, so just shut up until we get there.” ‡ The house was old and dark, set back from the road and surrounded by cornfields nearing harvest. Power and telephone lines ran along the road, but none of them extended to the house. The Corn Witch lives off the grid, Cody thought. Rich pulled the car onto the shoulder and wasted no time getting out. Cody followed. Joey took his time, and Cody suspected he would have preferred to stay in the car. Rich popped the trunk, got the gas can and handed it to Cody. “Come on,” Rich said, and stepped into the field, moving slowly among the tall stalks. Cody walked close behind him, but Joey held back several steps. Cody’s eyes adjusted to the darkness of the nearly moonless night by the time they reached the first scarecrow. Squinting, he saw the silhouette of another in the distance, and beyond that, the barest hint of another. He turned his head the other way and saw the same figures, links in the chain of scarecrows that surrounded the house. He stepped closer to the nearest one. It looked like it had been there a long time. Somebody put a lot of trouble into making it, and made it to last. Rich tapped Cody on the shoulder and handed him a lighter. “Burn it down,” he said. “Burn the fucker to the ground and you’ll be one scarecrow closer to getting your little cap back.” Cody put the gas can on the ground and reached out to the scarecrow. He felt something like a shock when his fingertips touched the rough, weathered fabric that covered the straw and corn shucks the scarecrow was filled with. The dry stuffing rustled and crackled. It’d burn fast. Cody pressed his hand more firmly against the scarecrow and the shock gave way to a warmer current of memory: Cody and his father watching The Wizard of Oz when he was a little boy. He’d told his dad the scarecrow was his favorite. “Mine, too,” his dad had said. “Always has been, always will be.” And that was Dad, Cody thought. Always had been, always would be. He didn’t need a cap to remind him of that. “Burn it!” Rich said. Cody reluctantly took his hand from the scarecrow and turned to face Rich. “Burn it!” “No,” Cody said and dropped the lighter on the ground. “What?” “You heard me. I said no. Keep the hat.” “You pussy,” Rich said. “Scared little pussy! You aren’t getting your cap back now, and you’re walking back to town.” “Beats riding with a couple of shits like you two,” Cody said. “I said burn it, you pussy.” “You want it burned, asshole, burn it yourself. Or are you afraid of the Corn Witch? Is that it? Who’s the pussy now?” Cody walked past Rich and heard the sound of sloshing gas. He didn’t look back, but got ready to haul real ass in case Rich did something truly stupid like trying to douse him. He didn’t think Rich would light him, but he wasn’t completely sure, and was ready to run. “You think I’m scared?” Rich said, almost shouting. “You think I’m a pussy?” The scent of gasoline grew stronger and Cody heard it splashing. “Joey,” Rich said. “Grab that lighter and give me a hand.” “Come on, Rich,” Joey said, his voice soft. “Let’s get out of here. I thought I heard something.” “Jesus! You too? Either get your ass over here and help me or you’re walking back to town with the newbie!” Joey didn’t move. Cody stopped and turned to look at Rich. “Let it go, man,” he said. “Keep the stupid hat and leave the scarecrow alone.” “Fuck the both of you,” Rich said, and thumbed the lighter to life. The scarecrow burst into flames when Rich waved the lighter under its chin. He took a quick step back to keep from being burned, but he didn’t move fast enough. Engulfed in flames, the scarecrow’s arms reached out and grabbed Rich. Blazing hands lifted him from the ground. Cody had never heard anything as horrible as Rich’s screams. The scarecrow raised Rich’s writhing body high above its head and shook him hard three times. Rich was still screaming when it threw him into the circle of scarecrows. Something dark and immense rose up and took Rich from the sky before he landed, and a moment later, the screams stopped. Cody and Joey ran. ‡ Rich’s car keys must have been in his pocket, so Cody and Joey walked back to town. It took them until nearly dawn, but neither of them spoke a word the whole way, any more than either of them looked back to see how long the scarecrow flames illuminated the sky. Cody snuck into his bedroom, but couldn’t sleep. When he heard his mom in the kitchen making breakfast, he went through his motions of showering, dressing, and getting ready for the day. After he ate, he told her he’d ride his bike to school. Rich’s Mustang was still parked on the shoulder of the road when Cody got to the cornfield. He laid his bike on the ground and stood still for a moment. In daylight it was easy to see how the scarecrows encircled the house. He took a deep breath and walked into the field. When he found the scarecrow, it showed no signs of having been burned. The fabric wasn’t scorched, the arms, covered in flames last night, bore evidence only of years — How many? Decades? Centuries? — of sunshine and rain, hot weather and cold, growing seasons and winter seasons. There was no sign of the gas can, and Cody felt sure there would be no sign of Rich. The only difference — the only thing that told Cody this was the scarecrow he’d seen last night — was the Atlanta Braves baseball cap resting on its head. Cody looked at the cap for a long moment, then reached up to adjust it so that it was tilted slightly to the left, the way it was meant to be worn. SCARECROWS WAS PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED IN NIGHTMARES UNHINGED: TWENTY TALES OF TERROR, 2015 (HEX PUBLISHERS). JOSHUA VIOLA IS A #1 DENVER POST BESTSELLING AUTHOR, FOUR-TIME COLORADO BOOK AWARD FINALIST, AND THE OWNER OF HEX PUBLISHERS.

THE SLIDE-ROCK BOLTER FEARSOME FOREST CREATURES: BY LAUREN SHULTS Nestled in the Coloradan mountains, just a stone’s throw southwest from Telluride, is Lizard Head mountain, home to the only native cetacean of Colorado: the Slide-Rock Bolter. The land-locked leviathan bolts down the mountainside and takes what is harming its home without a second thought. This deadly mountain-whale has been devouring tourists, lumberjacks and miners alike while sweeping through trees and all other natural life in its path for over 100 years — that we know of. Waiting dormant atop Lizard Head the whale watches the land near the San Juan Mountains with his careful beady eyes for anything to wander through the forested area. He hangs from the peak with his split, clawed tail facing his body downward. If the monster notices something encroaching on his territory, he easily lifts his malign fluke and bolts down the mountainside, sparing no passers-by. It is simply foolish to meander even remotely near the Lizard Head area, according to the tale. In no way is it in one’s best interest to meet the gargantuan creature with its jaw full of razorsharp teeth and staunch dedication to keeping humans clear of the area. The origin of the legend is rumored to come from lumberjacks in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Gathering at the end of their work days they’d share horror stories late into the night, with one person trying to out-scare the next. Each of their tales held a grain of truth to what was happening in their daily lives. From the mining in the mountainous area the environment deteriorated and many men lost their lives through their work. In conjunction with the terrors of mining, lumberjacks played their own part in the destruction of the region by deforesting the expansive forest. Though the dawning and meaning of the Bolter differ from one story to the next, the monster’s mission remains the same: to make humans extinct from the forest. More than a century ago ago everyone in the Colorado mountain regions were aware of the chilling tale because of the booming mining and milling taking place in the forests. Many of No. 82

the mining or lumberjack work-related deaths were blamed on the creature, which had to be dealt with so that life and work could go on, uninterrupted and without any fear. In the early 20th century it is said that a park ranger stuffed a dummy human with explosives to lure the creature from the mountaintop. The ranger thought he was easily tricking the Rocky Mountain Whale to meet his death. Instead, the flourishing mining and mill town, Rico, home to about 5,000 at the time, was nearly demolished and the Bolter lived on. Further spreading the talk of the creature was William T. Cox, writer, conservationist and Minnesota’s first State Forester. In 1910, the year before becoming the State Forester, he published the story of the Slide-Rock Bolter to a popular Minnesota newspaper, birthing more fear in people of the leviathan. Though the Bolter was at the forefront of most people’s minds when it came to viscous forest creatures, Cox actually authored an entire book, Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods, filled with similar deadly beings that lurk in forests, ready to snatch the lives of whoever is near. The fantastical encyclopedic book outlines all of the creatures in such great detail that no one after reading the story would ever want to step foot near a wooded area. The book can still be found today and is well worth reading if you want to be scared to your wit’s end. Within it, Cox writes, “In the mountains of Colorado, where in summer the woods are becoming infested with tourists, much uneasiness has been caused by the presence of the Slide-Rock Bolter. This frightful animal lives only in the steepest mountain country where the slopes are greater than 45 degrees. It has an immense head, with small eyes, and a mouth somewhat on the order of a sculpin, running back beyond its ears. The tail consist of a divided flipper, with enormous grab-hooks, which it fastens over the crest of the mountain or ridge, often remaining there motionless for days at a time, watching the gulch for tourists or any other hapless creature that may enter it. At the right moment, after sighting a tourist, it will lift its tail, thus loosening its hold on the mountain, and with its small eyes riveted on the poor unfortunate, and drooling thin skid grease from the corners of its mouth, which greatly accelerates its speed, the Bolter comes down like a toboggan, scooping in its victim as it goes, its own impetus carrying it up the next slope, where it again slaps its tail over the ridge and waits. Whole parties of tourists are reported to have been gulped at one scoop by taking parties far back into the hills. The animal is a menace not only to tourist but to the woods as well. Many a draw through spruce-covered slopes has been laid low, the trees being knocked out by the roots or mowed off as by a scythe where the Bolter has crashed down through from the peaks above.” Cox had a history of being critical in his work as the State Forester. He always harshly commented on the amount of deforestation happening and did not hold his tongue when it came to his assessments of forest grounds. In addition to routine classifications of soil in various areas, giving recommendations to councils and pricing potential lumber, he urged the state to reduce their presence in timber trade. He did not agree with what was being done to the natural land. Eventually, in 1924, the board had enough of his advanced environmental “foolishness” and Cox was let go from his position. But he didn’t finish his forest escapades and rather charged deeper into conservation. He spent a great deal of time in Brazil studying the Amazon Rainforest after vacating his role and over time, he helped the country strategize a more environmentally sound plan to participate 23 in the timber trading economy. Upon returning to the United States Cox became a founding member of the Department of Conservation, known today as the Division of Forestry. Meanwhile, the town near the home of the Slide-Rock Bolter, Rico, became a part of the Pioneer Mining District of Colorado to mine silver, copper and gold just outside of the town, in addition to already being a large lumber hub of the Western United States. In 1891, the Rio Grande Southern Railroad arrived, stretching the bandwidth of the town’s riches even farther, across Colorado to Durango, motivating more mining and chopping, thus consequently more harm to the environment. Today, less than 300 people live in Rico, presumedly not because of the Bolter himself being angry over the activity, but because of the lack of land made available to mine. What was territory of the Ute Tribe was being illegally mined by money-hungry Coloradans. The abrupt drop in mining and milling consequently has the same timeline of the end of most of the Slide-Rock Bolter sightings. Though the monster may just be a creation of lumberjacks to ward off tourists, a man with a mission to stop deforestation, or a group of early environmentalists scared of what mining was doing to people in the area, the tale lives to warn everyone of their individual actions when in the natural environment and a reminder to be cognizant of what is at stake. Cox may have created Macrostoma saxiperrumptus, the scientific yet fantastical name of the Slide-Rock Bolter, in rage against mass deforestation but through all the terror he caused, it is he who we have to thank, in part, for advocating for the trees long before it was mainstream.

PRESERVE DANCEFLOOR EPIPHANIES: #SAVEOURSTAGES SUPPORT NATIONAL INDEPENDENT LIVE MUSIC VENUES FROM FOLDING TO THE CORONAVIRUS A show at an independent venue is a rite of passage. Do you remember the first time you packed into a mildly musty, dim, dusky venue with 75 strangers and listened to a band you’d never heard of? That first experience hearing music that your parents or the radio didn’t play, that can trigger the beginning of a lifelong chase to join the elect few who can brag, “Yeah, I saw them before their album came out.” For some, that first show may have been at the venue in Meow Wolf's House of Eternal Return, known to some as Fancy Town. Though we all miss live music and the palpable bond it brings, Meow Wolf has made the decision to push all our remaining 2020 live shows into 2021 and beyond. There is, unfortunately, too much uncertainty around safety for both audience members and touring acts to present live music this year. Some of our fellow independent music venues have closed their doors permanently. We urgently need to #SaveOurStages to help others keep their doors open. “Without venues, we lose a sense of self-discovery, we lose connection in a community intrinsic to music, and weaken subcultures spawned by those spaces. We need these sanctuaries, these dance floors, these community containers, as they have given birth to something bigger than just a stage or building,” says Meow Wolf’s Experience Art Director, Sofie Cruse. The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) has brought over 2,000 venues (including us) together from all 50 states to fight against the closure of these small venues by lobbying Congress for federal aid with the #SaveOurStages Act and #RestartAct. These acts were submitted to Congress back in July, but do not have a vote date yet, so we urge you to join us in sharing this hashtag and writing your representatives now. Ask your representatives to support the #SaveOurStages bill; it only takes a minute, and your support could provide a lifeline for independent music venues across the country. “It's more than losing a venue,” says Cruse, “it's losing the connective tissue to DJs, performers, promoters, industry professionals, dance floor enthusiasts, and takes away the moments that can form and shape a subculture, town, genre of music, into a lasting language.” Austin-born and raised Cruse was quick to rattle off some of her favorite hometown independent venues: The Mohawk, The Scoot Inn, Cheer Up Charlies, The Parish, Antone’s, Stubb’s, Hotel Vegas to name a few. And we’d never forget Empire Control Room where we took over for three days of art installations and daytime and nighttime dance parties dubbed Fractallage for SXSW 2018. By carsen greene BIG FREEDIA | PHOTO BY SHAYLA BLATCHFORD STRFKR | PHOTO BY KATE RUSSELL

Our friends and fellow NIVA members at House of Yes provide a safe space in Brooklyn for the LGBTQ+ communities to throw parties, host yoga, perform burlesque, and remix films like when HOY premiered our documentary Meow Wolf: Origin Story with a flying George R. R. Martin and rap battle between Art and Money. At Elsewhere (also in Brooklyn), folx find rotating immersive art experiences in each cranny of the building, plus The Rooftop, a pretty rad bar and venue. Denver staple Oriental Theater, where RUMTUM recreated an incredible mural inspired by the faded original from the theater’s 1927 opening, are also NIVA members. This Colorado stage, along with Red Rocks, Mission Ballroom and so many others need our support. At home in New Mexico, we are proud to have worked with (or partied in) so many venues: Launchpad and Sunshine Theater, who both play a huge role in the promotion of local bands, Taos Mesa Brewing Company, who are dealing with the aftermath of a fire, The Lensic, a space for all ages, and the Santa Fe Opera, home of 16 world opera premieres, to name a few. Every city has their beloved independent venues, and everyone in that city has their favorite. Have a favorite independent venue? Head to lyte.com/covid19relief to donate directly to that venue. (Note: Meow Wolf does not accept donations. We only want to signal-boost other independent venues in need. Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return supports live music’s eternal postCOVID-19 return!) “It goes beyond dance floor epiphanies,” says Cruse, “venues give support to artists to continue their craft and a home for the listener. #SaveOurStages for the sake of that connective tissue, in this time of great separation, when a sense of community is needed most." Join Sofie and all of us at Meow Wolf in supporting the #SaveOurStages campaign! 25 POPPY | PHOTO BY KATE RUSSELL ORVILLE PECK | PHOTO BY KATE RUSSELL

MOLLY BROWN HOUSE MUSEUM’S VICTORIAN HORRORS RETURNS FOR ITS 27TH HALLOWEEN BY RYAN DUNN One of the oldest and most beloved Denver Halloween traditions will continue on this year despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Victorian Horrors, an annual celebration of Gothic literature held at the Molly Brown House Museum in Capitol Hill Denver, will take place this October and feature a redesigned program that adheres to Colorado Covid-19 guidelines. With visitors allowed into the Molly Brown House in groups of eight every 20 minutes, a prerecorded audio tour will guide guests through the house and will feature taped readings of contemporary gothic stories from Molly Brown’s era. This will be the 27th year that Victorian Horrors has been held at the Molly Brown House. The tradition began in the 1980’s as a way to introduce audiences to the books and stories that Brown would have been reading when she lived in Denver around the turn of the 20th century. The event has evolved from its beginnings as a ramshackle environmental theatre production featuring a few actors performing readings in the house to its current incarnation as a sprawling affair complete with authentic décor, props and lighting that support the stories being told in the house. Many of the actors who participate have longstanding ties to the program, including David and Julie Payne, who have been a part of the event for each of its 27 years, and John Wittbrodt, who will return to play Edgar Allan Poe for the fourth time. Victorian Horrors pays its actors a fee that allows the production to be competitive with the fall theatre schedule and maintain venerable relationships with its actors. While gothic literature peaked in the 1800’s with the emergence of towering authors like Ann Radcliffe, Mary Shelley, and Poe, their works had become classics by the time Brown moved into the Pennsylvania Street manor. The stories included in Victorian Horrors often reflect the cannon of literature that Brown and her family would have read at the time. The gore in Poe’s poems and the grotesque themes that are foundational to the Victorian gothic genre bring a spooky twist to the event. Brown lived in the house in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s with her husband James Joseph “J.J.” Brown, long before her fateful passage on the RMS Titanic that earned her the famous “unsinkable” appellation. “We like to say that the Victorians sort of invented Halloween as we know it here in America,” said Andrea Malcomb, the director of the Molly Brown House Museum. “In Margaret Brown’s time in the late 1800’s, Halloween would have been another opportunity to get young people together as part of courting and dating so young people could No. 82 get to know each other at Halloween parties, play games, and have an opportunity to interact.” While typical years involve a nontraditional tour route that brings visitors in close proximity to the actors, the pandemic has necessitated some alterations to the production. Actors came to the house in September to record their readings for the audio tour, and guests will be able to stop in one room during their tour to interact with a live performance over Zoom. The live performance will be done by a rotating cast of actors who will portray the floating head of an author reading their works from beyond the grave. Stories are selected from a running list of works kept by the actors and the museum staff. The staff meets with the actors in early July to make their selections, with the group making an effort not to repeat any given story more than once every five years. The traditional HispanicAmerican folktale La Llorona and the H.G. Wells novel The Invisible Man will comprise two of the five stories portrayed this year. In addition to the readings, this year’s edition will feature an oddities expo showcasing various curiosities of the Victorian era such as taxidermy, skeletons, and strange rarities kept in jars. The Learned Lemur and Atomic Folk Art are partnering with the Molly Brown House for the expo and will have items available for purchase. While this year’s production may differ from years past, the museum staff have worked to ensure that the beloved event stays true to its roots. “It’s a very popular event and we’ve had people who have come to just about every single year and they love it and they request stories and authors and they have favorite actors,” said Malcomb. “So, it’s something that the community really loves as an event and plus it serves as a really great fundraiser for our organization because of course we are a nonprofit museum. It all goes to help keep our doors open.” 27TH ANNUAL VICTORIAN HORRORS Where: Molly Brown House Museum | 1340 Pennsylvania St., Denver When: October 16, 17, 23, 24, 29, 30 | 6-9 p.m. Tickets: $20 / $18 for Historic Denver members, seniors and children Available for purchase by phone: (303) 832-4092, ext. 16 or online at www.mollybrown.org.

ゴジラ モスラ GOJIRA ART + WORDS BY PETER GLANTING GODZILLA (ゴジラ, GOJIRA) Like so many of Godzilla's friends and foes, Godzilla themself comes from mysterious origins. In the words of Wikipedia: "generally depicted as an enormous, violent, prehistoric sea monster awakened and empowered by nuclear radiation.” You can't say fairer than that. MOTHRA (モスラ, MOSURA) When the Mothra movie premiered in the U.S., theaters would アンギラス メカゴジラ lay out a bunch of weapons on tables in the lobby, with signs that read: "These could not defeat Mothra." I'd like to see a similar form of promotion for the Hunger Games, with just an empty table in the theater with a sign that reads: "They sure are hungry.” Anguiris (アンギラス, Angirasu) Anguiris can burrow underground and move at great speeds. According to very credible sources, Anguiris's brain is in their chest. MECHAGODZILLA (メカゴジラ, MEKAGOJIRA) Whether they're made by aliens or by humans, Mechagodzilla エビラ is a constant mechanical thorn in Godzilla's side. Mechagodzilla can fire missiles and energy beams, and can generate force fields as well. EBIRAH (エビラ, EBIRA) A giant lobster. HEDORAH (ヘドラ, HEDORA) One of the actors who played Hedora had to have an ヘドラ appendectomy while still in the Hedora suit. My neighbor Jack told me this.

キングギドラ ラドン ガイガン KING GHIDORAH (キングギドラ, KINGU GIDORA) I don't really know what King Ghidorah's canon origin is. Their CV boasts being an alien dragon, an interdimensional god, a Japanese guardian spirit, and genetic experiment. You decide. RODAN (ラドン, RADON) The radioactive Pteranodon has become friendlier-looking over the years as they have become less of a menacing villain and more of a helpful, prehistoric friend. Studios changed the Japanese name "Radon" for English speaking audiences "to avoid confusion with the element radon.” GIGAN (ガイガン, GAIGAN) The cyborg known as Gigan boasts a saw blade on their torso and hook hands. These hook hands get replaced by chainsaws in Gigan's later years. KAMOEBAS (カメーバ, KAMĒBA) Kamēba is barely a Godzilla kaiju. They were in two nonGodzilla pieces of media before making a brief appearance in Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. I probably could have included a more prolific monster, but I have a soft spot for the enormous turtle. SPACEGODZILLA (スペースゴジラ, SUPĒSUGOJIRA) Unlike Megalon, SpaceGodzilla is very smart. SpaceGodzilla is a clone from space. MEGALON (メガロ, MEGARO) According to my extensive research, Megalon is supposed to be very strong, as well as profoundly feeble-minded. I'm pretty sure that the 90s SNK fighting game King of the Monsters based their character Beetle Mania on Megalon, though I always thought BM seemed pretty sharp. メガロ スペースゴジラ カメーバ

DID YOU KNOW? YOU CAN BUY A HOME OF YOUR VERY OWN BY JOHN "JJ" JEFFREY Misinformation. How many times have we missed out on an opportunity due to misinformation? I for one can say probably more than I would like to admit. I wanted to highlight this issue that I feel is so prevalent in home buying and home financing. Let’s take some of the biggest factors that I feel keep people from even attempting to buy a home with a few Did you knows? 1. Did you know you don’t have to have 20 percent to buy a home? YES YOU READ THAT CORRECTLY! We have programs that are a low as 3 percent down! Veterans can finance 100 percent and there are down payment assistance programs for non-veterans that make it possible for zero down as well. We also have a Doctor/Dentist loan that provides 100 percent financing. 2. Did you know that you can cover your closing costs through your interest rate? YEP! Some lenders advertise this as their “no closing costs” options. Ultimately you do pay for closing costs, however you do so by taking a slightly higher rate and the lender can issue a lender credit to cover closing costs. This can be a great way to offset funds for purchasing your new home. For those who already own a home you can do this when refinancing as well. 3. Did you know that you can still buy a home after a bankruptcy and/or a foreclosure? There are waiting periods depending on the type of loan you need, however they probably aren’t as long as you think. Some programs are as short as two years and depending on the circumstances, there may now be no waiting period at all. 4. Did you know that getting pre-qualified doesn’t cost a dime nor does it obligate you to obtain a loan? It’s so valuable because it gives us a clear picture of how you can buy a new home and reveals if there are any issues we need to clear up to move forward. It’s truly the starting point and the space to get all your questions answered and concerns addressed. The key to all of this is to ASK! With my many years of experience, and the support and products available through Westerra Credit Union, there isn’t a question or scenario we haven’t seen or heard. “What if my credit score isn’t high enough?” What if it IS?! “I don’t even know where to begin …” WE DO! Part of getting pre-qualified is talking through each step of home financing so that you are comfortable. “What if I don’t qualify?” Then we plan and we plan together. Sometime life just happens and we understand that. We have closed loans for many people who initially may not have qualified. With some planning and strategic moves we can usually create a winning scenario and sometimes it just takes time. By getting pre-qualified we will be able to answer all of these questions and remove the misinformation that truly can stop the dream of home ownership before it begins. Now, is it time to have that conversation to see how you, yes, YOU, can buy a home of your own? I am a call away and would love to help you step into home ownership. HAVE QUESTIONS OR WANT MORE INFORMATION? CONTACT ME: JOHN “JJ” JEFFREY MORTGAGE LOAN OFFICER, NMLS #201863 WESTERRA CREDIT UNION JJEFFREY@WESTERRACU.COM OFFICE: (720) 921-3012 | CELL: (303) 618-1990

BERKELEY NEIGHBORHOOD: A Place Where Humans & Furbabies Come Together BY SHANGELA On a clear fall morning, the air is crisp and the sun is rising at Berkeley Park in West Denver. Morning business is going as usual with owners walking their furbabies to Berkeley Dog Park and letting them off leash to enjoy some fureedom. A group of wagging-tale-canines surround me, Shangela. With my ears pointed, tail up, and my doggie bling glistening in the morning sun, I am up to something: “Ok class. Let’s begin our morning fur-beauty routine to start your day. First, perform a quick shake to fluff up your fur. You don’t want to have a 'dog-bed-head' look walking down Tennyson Street. Trust me, humans will judge you. Next, proceed to a series of slow stretches. Bow down and stick your fur-hind as far in the air as it can go. Don’t worry, no one is watching. Then, stand straight up on your front paws and extend your hind legs as far as you can. That’s good. Now, reach out your neck like you got a fresh rabbit scent from afar. Slowly turn left to right. Lastly, give your neighbor a friendly sniff n’ greet and let’s start our day!” The dogs scurry off to their owners, and in complete self adoration of successfully giving my first fur-yoga class, I perform my happy dance chasing my tail three times clockwise, then three times counterclockwise. Today is a great day in Berkeley Park! A FURRY PERSPECTIVE OF BERKELEY Berkeley is a highly desired Northwest Denver neighborhood located just south of I-70 and east of Sheridan Boulevard that features many of Denver’s iconic brick bungalows built just after the turn of the century. This neighborhood is famous for having two parks each with its own lake: Berkeley Park and Rocky Mountain Lake Park as well as an enormous 2-acre off leash dog rk. This provides tons of opportunity to ur furbaby get their exercise just minutes m yr doorstep. In 2011, residents were able to pass funding which helped foster rapid commercial growth on Tennyson Street. Today, Tennyson boasts an old, residential “Main Street” feeling featuring small businesses, trendy eateries and shops on either side. Tennyson has blossomed into a community center providing many seasonal events, art walks, and activities for humans and furbabies alike. SHANGELA’S PICKS: BEST FURFRIENDLY SPOTS & BUSINESSES If you are looking for an excellent furry friendly breakfast place, be sure to visit Cozy Cottage on 43rd and Tennyson. They have a large dog friendly patio and you are given your own water bowl! The owners often switch up the menu to compliment Colorado’s seasonality such as Pumpkin Spice Pancakes in fall – a must visit! For all you beer drinkers, be sure to visit Call to Arms Brewing located at 45th and Tennyson. This festive hangout is great for sampling their house-made brews and hard seltzers. Furry friends are allowed out on the patio! If you want to keep your car looking great and want to avoid abrasive car washes, be sure to go “hand washed” style at Mr. Car Wash located on 38th near the corner of Lowell. This wonderful family owned car wash provides a high level of integrity while using non-abrasive washing techniques – something that is very difficult to find anywhere in Denver. They are extremely furry friendly, not to mention, they have the best car wash service in town! Chadwick V. R. Williams & Shangela | Your Denver Real Estate Concierge denverrealestatepro.com | (720) 666-9805 | chadwick@denverrealestatepro.com If you are interested in buying or selling a home in Berkeley, or anywhere in or around Denver, please be sure to reach out me or Chadwick. We provide our own staging services and also have a team of professionals who can remodel or fix any home. Also, look to the left if you need a great lender. “JJ” John Jeffrey with Westerra Credit Union is my favorite lender with over 25 years experience. He is offering some excellent financing packages with interest rates below 3 percent! JJ’s contact info is on the page next door along with some great tips for buying a home, whether you’re a firsttimer or have previous experience.

STANLEY KAIJU AND THE SUBTERRANEAN BUNNY DEFENDERS GO UNDERGROUND BY ELISA SARGENT ILLUSTRATION BY DANIEL CROSIER | COLORING BY KEVIN WALTZ In recent years, as many of you may know, this reporter has settled down in Denver, and I have generally kept my stories in Denver and about Denver events, however, the story I have for my readers today expands a bit past the boundary of our city, into a small field. My story of course starts in our beloved hometown, where I live and write, but although the rumors of a new phenomenon started here, it took me on a quest through several states and through several months. I initially heard about the phenomenon in a café. A café where I go every day for a small coffee before going into the office. I was reaching across the counter to get my single-serving sugar packet when I noticed a man, frozen in place, with a dreamy look in his eyes standing across from me. When I casually inquired about his state, he told me the most amazing story. The night before last Saturday, or perhaps last Saturday, as far as he could remember, he attended a small circus, in a field, just outside of town. This of course piqued my curiosity. The traditional circus has all but disappeared. Lifelong performers of circus arts have been relegated to the corners of county fairs, or retired altogether, and the live animals from the circus have all found homes in zoos or sanctuaries. I asked him what he saw there, as it was clearly on his mind. The man quickly assured me that there were no live animals at the circus, but some type of mechanized creatures, none of which he could expressly identify. There were bright lights, projecting colors he could not explain, and of course food, which he could not remember. The one clear item he brought up in his strange ramblings was – fuzzy, pink performers. After hearing the strange story from the man in the café, I felt the fever to track down this new enigma. This is a fever which reporters often get which leads reporters such as myself to go to extreme steps to find and report strange stories to readers such as yourself. To start my investigation, I scoured the internet for several days and could not find a single promotion for this new circus, only vague firsthand personal accounts of a mysterious big top appearing randomly across the country. I packed my bags at this point and set forth to personally track this new event. I travelled through the summer to several towns, following the stories of dream-eyed, vague, firsthand personal accounts. I arrived at the described locations to find empty fields, without so much as a puff of popcorn left behind to prove the existence of the mysterious big top. As the days shortened and summer harvest was harvested from the sprawling rural fields, I felt my fever subside and admitted defeat. Returning to Denver to pursue more tangible stories, I turned my car back down the interstate at full speed only to stop short as the traffic halted due to a procession of cars pulling off the highway onto a small country road. As I sat waiting for the cars to clear, I looked across the dry, dying stalks of corn in the field next to the highway. The gleam of the setting sun reflected a yellowish ray of light onto a spired canvas of a colorful, old-fashioned circus tent poking up from behind the beige corn stalks. It was right there, the big top I had been looking for.

I eagerly followed the slow thread of cars off the interstate and pulled into a cleared section of the field. Leaving my car behind, I followed the crowds through the muddy grass and rotting pumpkin field to the gate in front of the line of tents, tents that were carefully placed in a straight row pointing directly to the main event, the object of my summer long obsession. I approached the entrance to purchase a ticket, and the young man selling tickets looked familiar. Not just the ticket seller, but the entire experience began to feel familiar, as if I had been there sometime during my childhood, or if maybe I had been there last Saturday night. I was shaken out of my hazy nostalgia by a slight growl from an odd creature that was stationed near the young ticket sellers’ feet. I describe the creature as a creature because I could not identify exactly what it was. I cannot say that it was an animal, because it was not an animal, it resembled a dog while not quite being a dog. It was made from some type of metal, I assume, and run by steam based on observation of small puffs of steam fluffing out of the ears. I was held by its brightly lit pink eyes for a moment before I was able to look away and move onto the thoroughfare. The moment I passed through the main gate, the setting sun disappeared, and the lights on the big top electrified and projected the color the man in the café could not explain. I wandered through the smokey smell of popcorn past several tents as random lights flickered on. Shadows formed from inside the tents of strange, large creatures. Some shapes resembled the shape of elephants, but were not exactly elephants, others resembled the shape of horses, but were not exactly horses. Some were a fuzzy combination of both. Music started, from somewhere, mixed with sporadic hollow mechanical animal sounds emanating from inside the attractions. My reporter instincts pushed me to visit every tent, but a magnetic draw to the big top pulled me past the small curiosities to the towering pavilion at the end of the row. I quickly found myself seated in the main event, grasping my notebook to record every detail. The first act to come into the ring was a small group of Peruvian acrobats. Having been to Lima several times as a field reporter, my skepticism was immediately aroused. Never in my several tours in Peru have I ever seen an act quite like this. Strange, small men in pink fuzzy outfits silently meandered into the arena. From there, an explosion of action and sound erupted that I cannot quite describe. In fact, I am not able to remember much more after the beginning of the performance, and my notes have stopped. To clarify, my notes did not technically stop, but instead, the words of my notes stopped, and at some point I began to write symbols and squiggly lines on my notepad. I found myself back in Denver shortly after the event. The journey home is not something I remember, but the experience will be with me forever. I had hoped to spend the summer locating and revealing every detail of this mystery to you, my readers, but I can only repeat the rumors being passed around about this new phenomenon. There is certainly something out there, the origin of which is questionable but somehow familiar. The only thing this reporter can state for sure is, despite the complex blue haze of digital entertainment and never-ending stream of information available to our modern fingertips, there is still mystery, unseen beauty and something indescribably real, all contained under a canvas tent, in a field somewhere. Find it if you can. 33 ILLUSTRATION SOURCED FROM: JUANJO NEZNA, ¡SARTRE CABRÓN!


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