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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Kurt Cobain: The Suicidal Brilliant


by

Bobbie L. Washington

There is a documentary on HBO that is currently running entitled Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck. It is about the meteoric rise and subsequently spiraling crash on the life of Kurt Cobain. And it is remarkable. It was written and directed by Brett Morgen with the cooperation from Kurt's parents, his sister and his daughter, Frances Cobain. She also serves as executive producer on this project as well. It was reported that Frances Cobain wanted an honest portrayal of her father perhaps so as not to elevate him to the point of beatification. But in this documentary, you get the sense that you are more than just spying on this family, you get the sense that you are watching Kurt's soul being painted on a canvas and you are helpless to stop what will become the tragic outcome.

What makes this documentary such a stand out is the use of illustrations and animations as well as old stock footage and home videos that turns it from a picture perfect portrait of idealism into a stark unpleasant portrait of substance abuse. With montages of a World War II generation getting on with their lives after the war and with images of the Cleaver family, that ideal family form the 50's, we look into the life of Kurt's parents and what pass as the ideal family. It was a conventional relationship with the parents, all of the girls in his mother's age group was married off and his father made overtures towards her and as a matter of convenience and expediency, the union was formed. Kurt soon followed and since he was the first grandchild in the family, Kurt was adored and showered with affection from all quarters in the family. And as time moved on, nobody was divorced in the tiny town in which they were from said the mother, that's how things were. But for her, that wasn't the case, Kurt's parents divorced when he was a prepubescent teen and for him it was a precarious time of upheaval and a thing to come.

As you watch this, you see a lot of Kurt's writings, illustrations, lyrics, general thoughts, just about everything he's ever put pencil to paper being put on display. It moves the documentary on in a way that captures even more the insight of who this man was and the angst he had gone through as a child. He dropped out of school with two months remaining and never looked back. By this time he was already writing lyrics to some of the most captivating concepts he would eventually explore. There is one scene where you see a still picture of Kurt sleeping on a sofa and his face morphs into a distortion and you are in his thoughts filled with a psychedelic imagery of misshapen globules coming at you from all corners.

And then there's the images of Kurt as a cartoon done in rotoscope animation. This is haunting in that you hear Kurt in his own voice as if Brett Morgen has taken the images directly from a video and transposed them into a ghoulish specter that has come back to haunt you. But it works as it draws you into something more than documentary. It doesn't allow you to become bored with just one voice droning on. It is layered, it is compelling.

And it comes to the point where you see the evolution of Kurt and the band Nirvana. Like all things of success, timing is everything. What was it about this band that help capture the disassociate generation of that time? Kurt had become the default leader apparent and by all indicators, a reluctant one at that. Like all artists of a certain ilk, it was suppose to be all about the creative process of making music. There was a scene of Kurt on stage that reminded me of a Jim Morrison performance with The Doors. It seemed to parallel each other lives and you don't know if that was intentional or not but it was eerily fascinating to see.

But it seems like his relationship with his mistress, suicide, had been going on for quite some time starting as a teenager. It appears that the divorce of his parents was the catalyst that changed the way he saw things from that point on. He was given Ridalin at an early age to quell his hyperactive self and at the time, narcotizing kids was the preferred thing to do. You have to wonder if parents just wasn't capable of dealing with children who were active as a norm and instead just listen to some psycho babble about kids behavior? He wrote so much about suicide but nobody looked over his shoulder or really seemed to take such concerns with the level of interest that should have raised alarms.

And so we reach Nirvana. The band is wildly successful with all the trappings that comes with it. But still, there is this edge that Kurt struggles with. He wears the mask of success but deep down he is terrified. He finds new love with Courtney Love, he finds fleeting happiness with the birth of his daughter and yet the demons still exist. He writes more about suicide. He attempts a suicide after he suspects that Courtney Love is having an affair. Why didn't anyone check him into rehab after, that is a question that needs to be asked? One month later, he succeeds with his thoughts.


And you wonder what might have been with Kurt Cobain if he hadn't killed himself? Where would he be musically? You ask that with many artist who have left us much too soon but with Kurt, his writings were something to behold. Like Jim Morrison, who's poetry and lyrics were something on another plain, Kurt Cobain was just as equal in delivering compelling tortured prose. Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck should be viewed in an academic environment and as a life lesson to any up and coming angst riddle artist.

Sunday, April 26, 2015


 Naked Zombie Girl     by

Bobbie L. Washington

Have you ever ran across something that for whatever reason, resonates something in you that leaves a lasting impression? Well. I made such a discovery of a somewhat innocuous little gem of a film that's called Naked Zombie Girl that came out in 2014. It is exactly what the title claims, but it's about a girl who kills or rather re-kills zombies. So the premise is this, apparently there is a plague of zombies roaming the land. They just jump right into it without any setup. They have to since the little innocuous film has a running time of 28 minutes. And so there is a 1971 Cadillac Broughham chugging along down the highway with three people in the car, two women and a guy. The car comes to a stop having engine trouble and at the same time, the guy is sick, apparently bitten by a zombie.




All of a sudden a horde of zombies come out of nowhere attacking the occupants in the car. One of the girls in driving. The zombies grab the girl in the backseat and the dead guy. The driver eventually is under attack as she fights off the zombies. In her escape, her dress is torn off after getting caught in the car door. She runs to a barn or some structure where she finds a chainsaw. Now unlike some other teen horror slasher movie, this chick figures out things and she gets the chainsaw started and now the fun begins.



Unlike The Avengers: Age of Ultorn which is long, laborious and lacking the fun element that's gone missing from the earlier films, Naked Zombie Girl has it's tongue planted firmly in cheek with the camp factor. It's not thought provoking, it won't make you cry for Ryan Gossling, it won't do your taxes, it won't have a dog rescuing you from a well. Here you have a naked girl running around with a chainsaw dispatching zombies left and right. And then you realize that her being naked is her super power. It sort of reminds you of Buffy Sommers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Here was a high school girl who had this gift of killing demons, vampires, ghouls, etc. while attending the prom in a ball gown. But Naked Zombie Girl takes it to a whole different level. After she kills her first set of zombies, a guy in a white pickup truck pulls up and blows one of the zombies away, saving our heroine from a fate worse than death, literally. But he didn't bat a eye when he tells her to get into the truck and he drives her back to his place so she can wash all of the blood off her. Of course you can see this coming because while she is in the bathroom, the zombies get into the house and eat the guy. She hears the noise and puts a towel around her and goes out into the hallway and looks down the hall to see the zombies devouring the guy. She drops her towel and she has her super power again as she goes on the attack.



And that's what I took away from this and that was her “girl power” was her being naked and I don't know if she knew that her power was derived from her being naked? She seemed to free herself from those conventions that were placed by the social norms. Those emotional shackles, invisible as they are, were liberated from her when she grabbed that chainsaw like it was her “new dick” and stuck it in the zombie splitting him into. What you saw was someone who wasn't looked at as some sexualized creature but a different kind of warrior that's worthy of further examination in the cinematic structure on women in film.



Writer/Director Ricky Bird did a masterful job with the resources that he had. And with a budget of $17,500 the zombie makeup and effects didn't seem cheap. Meghan Chadeayne plays Barbara/Naked Zombie Girl without reservations. Money was raised though crowd funding sources and I don't know if a feature film is planned. It falls under the category of grindhouse and there is a graphic novel of Naked Zombie Girl floating out there. But please find this film and be surprised by it all. Become a fanboy of Naked Zombie Girl and go to the website at nakedzombiegirlmovie.com , it's worth the trip.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The X-Files: The Anticipated Return


By


Bobbie L. Washington


The Nerd World collectively blew its living wad when it was announced by Fox that The X-Files would return for a limited run on broadcast television. The original series ran from 1993–2002 and collected a few prizes along the way including an Emmy to Gillian Anderson for her performance. During its run, The X-Files produced a feature film, a feat that no other television series had ever done while still in production. But all things must end as they say and The X-Files ended some what bittersweet. The Lone Gunmen had been killed off and CSM may or may not have been killed in the Anasazi-pueblos explosion. Another feature film was made but it wasn’t well received by the fans because it veered way off course to any of the mythos that had been developed over the years. So what is an alien to do on the return of The X-Files? Well, here is my scenario with extreme liberties taken.
Scully and Mulder are living a mid-life existence. Scully is still pursuing her medical interest while specializing in DNA therapy for cancer patients. Mulder is a sci-fi writer of novels based on many of the events he investigated while at the FBI. He’s a successful author in the realm of fiction writers. As the old adage goes, write what you know and he knows of things that go bump in the night. For the most part, they are a happy couple but there is still one thing that haunts the both of them and that is William, the son Scully gave up for adoption in order to protect him, so she had thought.
It is 4:30 am, Scully is having a dream about William. In her dreams, she sees what he is experiencing and it is not good. He is a teenager now. This isn’t Scully’s first dream about him. She has been dreaming about him for quite some time but she hasn’t told Mulder about the dreams because he might dismissed them as her feeling guilty for abandoning him. This dream is different, it shows dread and danger. She wakes up in a jolt and is breathing hard. Mulder wakes up as well. He ask what is wrong and she tells him it is just a bad dream. He comforts her and tries to get her to go back to sleep but the dream is real.
In some New Mexico/Arizona town, William is having some trouble. He is a foster kid moving from one home to another. His life has not been easy. His adoptive parents were killed three months after he was placed with them. He became a ward of the courts but was this by design or by chance? William has come of a certain age where he is noticing things about him are not normal. He has abilities that he keeps to himself that only one other person knows about, another foster kid, his girlfriend, a Native American. And William also has been having dreams. He sees Scully in his dreams but doesn’t know who she is. At this point of his life, his abilities have come to the attention of “the others”. William has lived next to an Indian reservation and there is a relative of Albert Hosteen, the Navajo code breaker, who has befriended William and knows who he really is. Let’s cal him Seven Hawks.
William has a need to seek out the truth and he is drawn to his dreams and wants to find the woman who haunts him. He goes to Seven Hawks who has a wolf as a pet. He tells Seven Hawks of his dreams and his pull to find out who the woman is. Seven Hawks advises him but can’t stop him from traveling the long distance. William decides that he must leave and the wolf takes off after him. He tries to stop the wolf from following him but Seven Hawks tells him to let him go, he has no claim on the animal and it is up to the animal to decides. William and the wolf takes off.
Meanwhile, Scully starts to experience daydreams while at work. They are vivid and clear. She thinks she is hallucinating. Eventually she tells Mulder what she has been experiencing. Mulder believes her feelings are real but he doesn’t know what to do about them. He wants her to go to a psychiatrist.
William and the wolf are making it across country and meet danger along the way. There is something following them. The wolf senses it. This unknown senses William’s abilities that have yet to his potential. He finally makes it to the east coast and he senses that he needs to get to the FBI headquarters. While the wolf stays outside, he slips in with a bunch of school children and makes his way to a computer where is abilities makes it easy for him to hack into it. He finds Scully’s information. Skinner, who is getting close to retiring, spots William on the terminal but William escapes with Sinner in pursuit. He rounds a corner with Skinner on his tail and as Skinner reaches the same point, William is gone.
William finds himself on the outside but he doesn’t know how he got there. The wolf is right there with his as invisible eyes watch him. Their journey is not quite over. Mulder is at his computer writing another novel. All of a sudden, he experience a daydream of Albert Hosteen of something his said to Mulder in the past while looking over his shoulder’s at a symbol on the wall. Mulder stops writing and goes online to look up that particular symbol. He eventually finds it on the dark web. The symbol has meaning to it. Mulder doesn’t know what to do with it except file it away for future use.
Scully has made it home and Mulder inquires about her day. She tells him bout what she has been experiencing and while she does, there is a knock at the door. Mulder answers it and it is William. Mulder ask he he could help him and Scully walks up to see who it is. William looks at her and she looks at him and they both recognize one another. William says, “I think I’m your son.” Scully cries.
He comes in and tells them his history but not about his abilities as yet. The wolf that came along for the journey shape-shifts into a woman. She’s naked and she walks back to another figure who drapes a coat around her. She says, “It is done, his training will start now.”
So that is just my scenario. I’m looking forward to seeing what they have to offer but they got to mention the boy because that is a story line that they left hanging big time. They need to find him of he needs to find them and make them whole again.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

They Raped Mike


By

Bobbie L. Washington


In life, time moves forward. We meet people along the way, like floating stars passing through the galaxy. On occasion, we get reminders of those time in some of the most unusual ways. Such was the case of an event long since dormant but had a profound impact on those who have not spoken of it ever since. What made me think about that time was a Spanish language film that came out in 2003 titled Dependencia Sexual or Sexual Dependency. It chronicle the sexual exploration of a cross section of young adults, a 15 year old reluctantly losing her virginity, a young man sexual encounter with a prostitute, a bunch of campus jocks who are decidedly homophobic and a black girl who graphically describes a rape but here is the twist, she is describing it in a play. But there is a rape that does occurs exactly how she describes it, at night, in a parking lot, by at least four young men but the victim is a male foreign exchange student who was victimized by the homophobic campus jocks.
And when I saw this, the memory of Mike came rushing back. When this happened to Mike, it was the mid 70's. We were in college at the time, some of us were freshmen. Mike was a returning student. At the time, we lived on campus in dormitories that could best be described as modified jail cells. The rooms measured eight feet by fifteen feet and we were four to a room. The walls were concrete block and painted an off lime green. It was a three story walk up and we lived on the third floor.
On the night of Mike’s assault, he wanted some chicken. Down from the campus of Texas Southern University was a chicken eatery known as Frenchy’s. For those who liked chicken, it was the place to go and get three pieces on a college student’s budget. Frenchy’s was about three blocks down from the campus. I don’t know if Mike ever made the trip before but many had made that trek before without any type of incident. But it wasn’t the case for Mike. While making his way down there, he was confronted by two men. A weapon was displayed in the assault. He was raped. This was just the cold hard fact of the matter.
There was no type of counseling for men in the mid 70's for this type of crime. No one knew what had happened to Mike. There was no reporting of this crime to police and the stigma that may have prevailed in that era of a young black man being sexually assaulted more than likely would not have been thoroughly investigated. Mike lived with this in secret until one day he jumped from the third floor of our dormitory. He didn’t kill himself, luckily, he had a nervous breakdown and ran screaming across the campus. It was only later did we find out what had happened to him and we were shocked by it. I don’t believe any one of us could fathom what we would have done if the situation had been reversed. Mike subsequently dropped out of school and presumably went back home somewhere in Texas.
Fast forward a year and I’m living off campus with my homeboy. We got an apartment over the summer with all of the struggles that go along with independent living while still going to school. Money was more than tight. And as the summer slowly spiraled down and as everybody returned to campus life, some of our friends temporarily move in with us. At it’s headiest, we had 19 people living with us. And as the months moved on, the number was reduced to a few. Mike had returned. Mike was a jazz musician and we were musicians as well of different degrees but Mike was a very good jazz musician. He was playing gigs on a regular basis while trying to find a place to stay. With Mike, we had three additional guests remaining. It was the college life and this is what we did. But there was an episode that involved Mike and my roommate. Considering the times in which we live in, my roommate handled it well.
When Mike was alone with my roommate, he had another breakdown. He had made the statement that he didn’t know who he was anymore and he wanted my roommate to fuck him in the ass. Yeah.
My roommate told me what had happened and there was sorrow for Mike. For us, it was out of our area of knowledge on how to deal with someone with a sexual identity crisis brought on by his sexual assault. Mike moved out and we never heard from him again. For a while, we always wondered where Mike was, did he go back home, was he okay or what? It’s been years now, life does a number on you, good, bad and indifferent. You look up and look back on the life that you had, some with fondness, some not so much. What happened to Mike at that point in his life more than likely altered his path. The only thing we did know was that the rape of Mike changed more than his life. Where ever you are, Mike, Good luck.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Mystery of Everett Ruess

The Mystery of Everett Ruess

By

Bobbie L. Washington

A poet, a writer, a painter, a thinker was he
Born to become a wanderer to a short and diminished life
Not by his choosing and not by his hands
Did Everett Ruess subscribe to his fate

Somewhere in the Chinle Wash
Sixty miles from the last place he was seen
Began the tale of this lost legend
Whipped by the whispering winds of the canyon walls

Of a ghost who treks through the Sequoia lands and Yosemite Park
“As to when I revisit civilization, it will not be soon”, he once said
I have not tired of the wilderness
It is enough that I am surrounded with beauty 

But the Navajo medicine Man would say otherwise
For cursing Aneth Nez, caretaker of the bones
For remaining silent for thirty-seven years
He would tell his tale of the wandering stranger

And the three Ute warriors of the Four Corners
As he sat in witness on top of the desolate Comb Ridge
Did he see the final end to the wandering man
Felled by a glancing blow in a single move

Had he trespassed on sacred grounds or
Was it just the warrior’s path that was crossed
The man with two burros would disappear for a while
To find a resting place in a canyon crevasse

Under a watchful hand of the Navajo Nez
Burden with the guilt and stricken ill
His third generation he would tale his tale
And find him they did, this man of two burros

Long thought drowned in the Colorado River
He rested quietly in spirit along the High Sierra
Enjoying its beauty and the vagrant life 
Preferring the saddle to the streetcar 

And a star-sprinkled sky to a roof 
The obscure and difficult trail 
Leading into the unknown to any paved highway 
And to the deep peace of the wild to the discontent bred by cities 

In his final words