Monday, October 6, 2014

OCTOBER: SKELETONS, ETC

The mere thought of O C T O B E R conjures up a thrill, and between FALL and HALLOWEEN and all things spooky/haunted/delightfully C R E E P Y, this yearly edition of NO NEW IS GOOD NEWS is one I always look forward to putting together. Features include original artwork by Cameron Charles Lewis and Elizabeth Smith, a quickie intro to illustrator/printmaker Taylor Barbosa, and (not in sheer coincidence of today's Twin Peaks announcement) there's also a re-run of "ToT," a ten minute play by Evan Allgood that boasts a Log Lady costume-clad protagonist...OR IS IT AGONIST? Read on to find out.

You can get in on this mini-little-magazine monthly by subscribing here – huge thanks to Y-O-U for digging in. Until next month, I'll see ya at Panda Head Blog.

BWAHAHAHA,
M O R G A N

above image by Caroline Lacey, for October 2012's NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS.

TAYLOR BARBOSA

I first came across Taylor Barbosa's work a few years ago on Tumblr, and it connected with me B I G time. She was nice enough to send some zines and prints when I got in touch, and they're TREASURED ITEMS to this day. Featuring saturated colors, dark undertones, and a handmade quality that makes holding it in your hands a REAL JOY, I count her among my favorite artists. I've kept an eye on her internet V E N U E S for the last couple of years (her Tumblr is humorous and feminist and calmly documentary, and laced with images of her work), and she's been up to some really cool shit, including co-founding an all-girl art gang called Vicious Bitches with her twin sister Jazzmyn.

Above and below, scans from her 2012 zine releases, Sittin' Pretty and Opposites Attract.


A quickie interview with Taylor at Panda Head Blog, here.
View more (and more current) work of Taylor's at her Tumblr + Instagram.

CAMERON CHARLES LEWIS

a skeleton, by Cameron Charles Lewis

I'm a HUGE fan of Cameron Charles Lewis's work, and could not be more stoked on what he put together when I sent a little s k e l e t o n request his way.

Cameron Charles Lewis was born and raised in Richmond, Va. Background in graphic design. Focuses on photography and more recently making paintings and illustrations. Loves his dog and cat.

www.CCLphoto.com | @cameroncharleslewis

ToT: EVAN ALLGOOD

A Ten-Minute Play by Evan Allgood

Lights up on a WOMAN (late 40s) sitting in her
living room dressed as the log lady from Twin
Peaks (sweater, glasses, log etched with heart).
Halloween decorations cover the room wall to
wall and there’s a big bowl of candy corn on the
coffee table.

The WOMAN seems anxious and frustrated.
She gets up and opens her front door, but there’s
no one there. She shuts it and sits back down.
She absent-mindedly grabs a piece of candy corn
and almost sticks it in her mouth, then realizes
what she’s doing and drops it back in the bowl.

A MAN (early 40s) dressed as Daryl Dixon
from The Walking Dead (sleeveless shirt, toy
crossbow, a necklace with a human ear on it)
approaches the woman’s house holding a
pillowcase full of candy. He’s squinting into his
smartphone, has a headphone running from it to
one of his ears.

Still unsure what’s on the phone, he knocks.

WOMAN
Finally.

She answers the door holding the bowl in one
hand, cradling the log in the other.

MAN
Trick or treat!

WOMAN
Is this some kind of a joke?

MAN
My phone? Absolutely. Piece a junk can barely parallel park my car for me--

WOMAN
This! You! A man your age trick-or-treating. Where--
                                                                     (looks out into neighborhood)
Where are all the children? I’ve had one child visit my house tonight, and that was over an hour ago.

MAN
Oh, you think... You think I’m trick-or-treating?

He pulls a piece of candy out of the pillowcase
and begins to eat it.

MAN
                                                                     (chewing)
That is rich, lady. I haven’t trick-or-treated since Ronald Reagan was in the White House, God rest his soul.

He unwraps another piece of candy, eats it.

MAN
                                                                     (chewing)
And even then, I was in college and high on cocaine. I didn’t get any candy; even an idiot could tell I didn’t need the sugar, not that I was fat, just high on cocaine, like I said before--

WOMAN
For god’s sake, man, chewing and talking are mutually exclusive! You must be a nightmare at dinner parties.

MAN
Thorry.

He swallows.

WOMAN
If you’re not trick-or-treating, you have a very odd way of going about it, don’t you? Knocking on my door, saying “Trick or treat.”

MAN
Ohhhhh. Y’know, you’re the first person who’s said that, but now that you mention it I
can see how this might be confusing...

He reaches into his pillowcase for another candy,
but the woman raps his hand with her log.

MAN
Ow!

WOMAN
What the devil is going on! Where are all the children! How did a man your age acquire so much candy!

MAN
Alright, calm down lady! My son, see, he’s eleven. And he was showing me this great trick-or-treating app called ToT--that’s tee-oh-tee. And I said that’s great, kid, that’s going to make your night a lot safer. And he said, you know what’d make it even safer? And I said what. And he said, if you were my surrogate, like that Bruce Willis movie Surrogates. I’m a huge Bruce Willis fan, see; whenever somebody asks who I’d want to star in my biopic, I say if you can’t get Bruce Willis, scrap the whole thing, pretend I was never born--

WOMAN
Bruce Willis has his moments, but get to the point!

MAN
Point being, see, I’m not trick-or-treating. My son’s trick-or-treating through me, his surrogate. We’ve even been... FaceTiming the whole time.

He squints into his phone again.

MAN
                                                                         (into phone)
Hey. Hey son. How’s it going back there?... Uh huh... Sure. Yeah, have fun, just make sure to clean up after yourselves.
                                                                         (to WOMAN)
He said he’s having some kind of “Rambo” party back at the house.
                                                                         (into phone)
Just keep your shirt on, kid! Ha-ha. Try not to get sweat everywhere! Don’t go... shooting all over the pla-- OK he hung up.
                                                                         (to WOMAN)
Kids, right? You tell ‘em you love Bruce Willis, they throw a Stallone party. Next thing I
know he’s gonna be voting for Hillary, argh!
                                                                         (laughs)
No he’s a great kid even if he votes for Hillary.

WOMAN
So are all of the children... Do they all have “surrogate” trick-or-treaters now?

She dejectedly sets the candy corn down.

MAN
Most of ‘em, yeah. Kids these days aren’t big on the outdoors. They’re more into...screens. Any sort of glowing screen, they can’t look away, it’s like a tic, it’s cra--
He looks down at his phone, squints.

MAN
Ohhhh, “Avoid.”

WOMAN
Excuse me?

MAN
Remember before I mentioned that app, ToT?

WOMAN
I remember it but I can’t say I understood it.

He shows her his phone.

MAN
OK, so, as kids--or more the case now, surrogates--go through the neighborhood, they rate every house on the quality and quantity of candy so the other surrogates know whether or not it’s worth stopping at. They also post sightings of bullies so we know where they are, so we don’t get egged or have our candy snatched. See that little bicycle icon? That’s a gang of bullies. Not that I’m afraid of a buncha teenagers! I have no qualms about punching adolescents. Ha-ha.

WOMAN
Of course not, big strapping man like yourself...

MAN
Uh, right.
                                                                    (clears throat)
And then if the person at the house seems like they might be dangerous, they give ‘em a razor blade, see, that little razor blade icon there.

WOMAN
I see-- Wait, that’s my address!

MAN
Yeeeah. You’re an “Avoid.” Low ratings across the board, plus a razor blade and a gang of bullies spotted a block away.

WOMAN
Low ratings? But I’ve only had the one child visit tonight, dressed as some sort of androgynous trollop. No one else has even given me a chance!

MAN
Yeah, because you gave that kid a buncha... loose candy corn. What do you expect? She gave you one star for quality, two for quantity, and a razor blade. The only person with lower ratings than you is that creepy guy over on Sycamore who gives out rolls of pennies and always asks the surrogate if they want to come in for a bowl of his “infamous” chili.

WOMAN
This is outrageous! Look at these decorations; I spent hours on them. And candied corn is a classic--

MAN
We just say candy corn--

WOMAN
Candied corn is a much better value purchased in bulk than in those little... individually wrapped bags!

MAN
Hey, buying in bulk, you’re preachin’ to the choir. I buy bread in bulk. Drives my son crazy. We’ve got a freezer downstairs full of the stuff. Got two loaves thawing in the kitchen sink right now; my kid probably stuck ‘em in the cupboard so he’s not embarrassed in front of all his little oiled up Rambo friends--

The WOMAN, despondent, slumps down on her
front porch.

WOMAN
Why did you even come here?

MAN
Wha?

He sits down next to her.

WOMAN
You said it yourself: My house is an “Avoid.” There’s a razor blade icon hovering above my address, a bicycle down the street. One star for my beloved candied corn.

She picks up a handful and tosses or trickles it
back into the bowl.

WOMAN
Why did you knock on my door?

MAN
Honestly? I misread the thing as “Ovoid.” Thought you were giving out eggs, figured I might need ‘em if I run into those bullies down the street. And if not, y’know, just take ‘em home. Eggs are like bread, see, you can never have too much. They’re staples. Course my kid’s a vegan. And deathly allergic to gluten.

WOMAN
Ovoid. Of course.

MAN
Listen, you seem like a nice lady, and you’re obviously upset, so you want my advice?
                                                                   (WOMAN nods)
Next year, pick up a buncha Reese’s. Wrapped Reese’s--and not the fun size ones if you want a good Quantity rating.

WOMAN
Reese’s Pieces?

MAN
Yeah, the Pieces. That’s a classic. And then, costume-wise, maybe don’t carve a heart into a log and carry it around and stroke it the way you’ve been doin’ the past minute or two. Little unsettling; can’t tell if the log is your boyfriend or a weapon or what.

WOMAN
You mean, you don’t recognize my costume?

MAN
What costume? Near as I can tell, you’re just a lady with a log.

WOMAN
But that’s exactly right! I’m the Log Lady from Twin Peaks.

MAN
I don’t know what that is. Sounds like a strip club.

WOMAN
It was a show in the early ’90s.

MAN
I was mostly blacked out until about ’93, the irony being that I wish I could forget the Clinton years. But your outfit, the ugly sweater and big glasses and all that, from what I can tell it’s fairly hip. I don’t understand it, dressing ugly for fun, but that’s what’s happening with the kids these days.

WOMAN
I don’t seem to understand anything that’s happening with the kids anymore.

MAN
Aw, c’mon; there’s always gonna be a weird little minority of people who love candy corn--

WOMAN
It’s not just about the candied corn. That... app of yours. It removes all the uncertainty from Halloween.

MAN
It gets rid of the risk!

WOMAN
But wasn’t that so much of the fun? Not knowing what you were going to get when you knocked on someone’s door? Not knowing around which corner the bullies lurked? Not knowing where or who the danger was...

MAN
Well, sure, it was fun to be scared. But as a single parent, I’d rather my kid have the app, y’know? Hell, I’d rather be out here instead of him, knowing he’s home having a little Rambo party, not engaging in any sort of hazardous behavior.

WOMAN
I like children, but don’t have any of my own... I guess you and I have different priorities.

MAN
I guess so... Actually, I should probably get home and give my kid all the candy he earned tonight. He did design my costume and outfit my phone with the app.

WOMAN
I’ve been wondering, what are you supposed to be?

MAN
I’m some redneck zombie hunter. I think he’s some a sex symbol, oddly enough, but I don’t really have the arms to go sleeveless.

The WOMAN strokes his arm.

WOMAN
Oh, I don’t know...

MAN
                                                                       (gestures with phone)
You keep that up, I’ll have to give you a chili pepper on here!

WOMAN
Beats a razor blade!

They laugh, a little too hard.

WOMAN
Would you like some candied corn?

MAN
I’m gonna pass on the loose candy corn.

WOMAN
How about some eggs? I have a doz-- I mean, eight dozen cooling in my refrigerator.

MAN
Eggs in bulk?! A woman after my own heart!

They stand; the WOMAN steps inside and sets
the candy corn back on the table. The MAN
hesitates outside the doorway, looking at his app.

WOMAN
What’s the matter?

MAN
Uh...
                                                                         (a beat)
Nothing.

He turns his phone off, puts it in his pocket, and
steps inside.

The WOMAN shuts and locks the door behind
him. She clutches her log in a manner both sexy
and menacing.

MAN
                                                                         (oblivious)
Ooh, I like that lipstick. What color is that?

WOMAN
Red.

CURTAINS.


ELIZABETH SMITH

a skeleton, by Elizabeth Smith
Fall leaves and AUTUMN BONES – how rad is this?

Elizabeth is a DC native, and the creative half Merit + Fork, a lifestyle blog. She can often be found chopping wood, drawing, taking photos, and generally making an ass of herself to get cheap laughs. 

website | instagram | twitter | email

THINGS THAT KIND OF LOOK LIKE BONES...

...a Few of Which Are Actually Bones. by Morgan H. West

d r i f t w o o d

m o r e  d r i f t w o o d

t h i s  w e i r d  s h e l l

a  r e a l  b o n e

a  r e a l  s k u l l

Among other things, Morgan H. West writes Panda Head Blog and curates NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS, the Panda Head Newsletter.