Thursday, December 31, 2009

Michael Excerpt #2

(December 1969)
“Michael,” my dad growls, “remember the spin.” He stands at full height, and reaches for my hands. “This is the big time, you understand?” His hands dig into mine. Seconds pass, he almost smiles. His eyes get big and I shuffle backwards, remember how he looks with his belt in his hand. I put my hand over my face and hold it in. The green room at the Ed Sullivan Theater has three mirrors with three bright lights above each one, and a silver table with bowls of M&Ms, all the different colors.
The nice lady with the headset took my brothers and my dad and me up the elevator. She told me this place used to be called “CBS-TV Studio 50,” but they renamed it for Ed Sullivan. She blushed when she said it, and spoke low, as though it were her private joy. I was thankful. I said, “That’s nice,” and smiled so that she would know I was happy for her.
I try to stay on the other side of the room from my father, but after everything he says or does, he finds me like he’s forgotten something. He tells me every octave I’ve missed over the past four months of rehearsal. Tells me not to be nervous even though I am not nervous. That I have a gift and I have to use my gift. He wants me to do well, but the want stays inside a tangle of wire.
“LIVE” blinks across the televisions in the green room, and I see him. Ed Sullivan. He wears his hair shaped just so. He was running late today so he didn’t get to meet us before the show, but the lady with the headset assured us that he is very much looking forward to speaking with us. She also said that Ed Sullivan absolutely dies for our music. I didn’t know what she meant, so I smiled at her. There is a commercial break. Adults dressed in black usher us onto the studio stage. The lights come back up. Ed Sullivan says, “Here are five brothers.” He stutters a bit when he says, “They are a sensational group.”
I take two steps to the microphone and feel my body go hollow. I’m inside, and I buzz against the walls. Every instance of movement, even breathing, lifts against this gentle weight. I say and we toasted our love during milk break, just like I’ve said the words hundreds of times. I am so anxious to sing, but the silence makes the buzz louder. I look back at my brothers. The piano spills a couple of notes that float toward me. We become shapes that do not think, and I know that we are going to show something hidden. We are like a picture of a clothesline as the clothes billow. So one day, and that was Monday, I stepped up to her and I said. The line finishes itself before a drum snaps once. I take a breath where I’m supposed to, and I open as far as I can. I let everyone hold me, except they hold me with love because they really know who I am.

-Soren Stockman

Monday, December 21, 2009

Antagovision #48 Part 1

The Antagonist Movement has a public access show that runs every Tuesday night on MNN Channel 67 at 11pm. This has been playing for 8 years and we have more than 48 episodes! The clips that you will be seeing on our blog this week are going to be showing on television next month, so this is your sneak preview!

TiVo or DVR this stuff. And you can also watch it live on MNN.org.

Antagovision #48 part 1 from Ethan H. Minsker on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

AAM Orphans Potluck: In Photos

Many gracious thanks to Un for taking these photos which I stole off of facebook.








The Dojo

Red’s ability to fight wasn’t instinct alone; it was something he’d learned over many years studying under Master Woo. Red began teaching and now Dash wanted to be his number one disciple.
Dash asked me to come and watch as he tested for his yellow belt. I sat with the rest of the families, along the wall on the far side of the Dojo. On either side of me were suburban wives and the little brothers and sisters of other students who were testing that day. Dash had to do what essentially is a dance routine. He seemed like he did it right and gave me a thumbs up before sitting, legs crossed on the floor next to a line of students. We all sat quietly watching until the main event.
A black man testing for a second-degree black belt, out-sized Red, standing at 6’2”. It wasn’t his fault that he’d been born tall, but Red wasn’t swayed. The man should have acted small or bent his knees; the bigger the man, the more determined Red was to knock him into the dirt. After breaking boards, Red had a small cut on his heel. It wasn’t going to be easy for the tall black man, especially since Red became agitated when he got cut.
The test started and the two men circled, spun around each other and snapped out kicks and punches. Wherever Red struck his opponent, there was a small triangle imprint left from his bleeding heel. Red was taking it easy on the fellow at first, yet it was obvious he held control. His aggression increased and each strike was such a fast flash, it was hard to spot. Only the small red triangle remained as a confirmation. Then Red was struck across the face with a punch. His eyes erupted with anger. He lost control and jumped with a roundhouse that landed on the back of the man’s head. Red dropped to the floor and kicked the man’s legs out.

-from Rich Boy Cries for Mama by Ethan H. Minsker

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Girls and Big Mac's

1987 I was Seventeen. After school

In McDonalds, I noticed two tables of girls. One girl sat by herself, and the other was packed. They all had on the same light blue uniform from NCS, Sister’s school. I recognized the black girl sitting by herself. There weren’t many black girls at NCS, so she stood out. Nicole, Sister’s best friend. I hadn’t hung around her. When Sister and she were at home they went to her room and closed the door. Nicole was small and her skin looked like dark chocolate. She had buck teeth that she hid under a tight lipped smile. She was sitting by herself and some other girls from her school were giving her a hard time. I was familiar with taunting and quick to identify it. This is probably why Sister doesn’t like the other girls at her school, I thought. But Sister had a weapon against them. She had the highest grades in the school. They could say what they wanted but in the end Sister was smarter than all of them. I glanced at the other table. The girls were giggling and pointing at Nicole. Nicole sat erect. All the girls at the other table were hot and I would have loved chatting to any of them, but I also knew what it felt like to be the retard. “Hold on a second Dash, I got to do something.” I walked over to Nicole and sat down facing her, with my back to the other girls. “These bitches giving you a hard time?” I raised my voice to make sure they heard me. I turned to face the other girls. “You have a problem with my little sister?” I had on my leather jacket, my hair was bright orange, my jeans tight and black, my boots black, too. I looked crazy and ready to fight anything. They said nothing. “Then keep your fucking mouths shut!” I wheeled back to Nicole. My face turned cheerful. “How’s it going?”
“Better now… You know you’re too white to be my brother,” she said. I thought of Pierre and how when we were kids somebody said the same thing to us.
“Maybe I’m adopted?”
“Maybe.”
Dash slid in next to me. He leaned his crutches next to the table. I noticed a few of the girls watching him. That probably made a deeper impression on the girls than my threat. One girl pointed at Dash and whispered something in her friend’s ear.

From Rich Boy Cries For Mama by Ethan H. Minsker

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Some Thursday Poetry

Dumb Ruminations

When the light goes on
he folds paper he loves
hearing about ulterior motives
after the moment has passed

the metal skull clicks
the light goes off

From outside the door
he sounds like Velcro scraped
across brick the scratch
of fire across his face

you have waited for him
it has been your secret
deep in the air he travels
you fall like ashes into his ocean



Solitaire

you wave your hand
like crab apple trees
taking the wind
little weights swinging
sometimes in circles
but back and forth

a ring of light gold
around your finger
holds it there
until the solitaire
twinkles even at you

looking back at you
sometimes in circles


-Soren Stockman

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

ANTAGONIST ORPHAN POTLUCK!















Everyone get excited for the annual Antagonist holiday party! This year were busting out with all sorts of cool stuff, from music, art, food (obviously) and writers!

The night will be hosted by our own Julian Stockdale and everyone should participate by bringing photos you have of Antagonists. We're going to put up stuff all over the walls, like a giant end-of-year scrapbook.

The night will go something like this:

6pm: Bring FOOD!
7pm: Photo Show Starts
730pm: Mystie Chamberlin
8pm: Bradley Dean
830pm: Holiday Horror Stories
9pm: Paloma
945pm: More Holiday Horror Stories
10pm: Raffle!
1015pm: Seann Branchfield & Band
11pm: Richard Allen Birthday Roast

Bring those dancing shoes, we've got 4 amazing musicians/bands playing!

And please bring food, we want to eat.

And bring your friends, we want to meet them.

Oh, where is it?
Niagara Bar!
112 Ave A (@ 7th St)

Time: 6pm-Late

Date: December 14th (that's a monday, kiddies)

It might be best if you take that tuesday off from work...or warn them that you'll be somewhat less capable that day.

SEE YOU MONDAY!

D.C. Tripping

It was 1988 I was 18 years old and it was the day before I went off to SVA.

“Take this.” Baxter handed me a small piece of paper. It was acid.
“What’s this for? I turned it over in my hand.
“We are both leaving soon. So tonight we will have some fun.”
Pierre and Ukala had on strange smiles.
“Are they already tripping?”
“Oh yeah, for a few hours now.”
I put the acid on my tongue and let the saliva build so I could swallow it.
We piled into Baxter’s minivan and drove to a girl’s house on Capital Hill. Her mother was a lobbyist for the streams and rivers.
“You okay to drive?” I asked Baxter.
His head swiveled over to me as if invisible strings suspended it; his eyes looked dark since his pupils were completely dilated. “You are always safe in the minivan.”
I felt the acid. I could see details in the shadows, and reds were vibrant, piercing my retinas. Driving past the Capital building, its whiteness cut into the night sky. It looked like it would have made a nice party hat for a giant Prussian general. A few blocks later we backed into a parking space up the street. Looking out the window, I saw the corner and chuckled to myself. “Crack.” Pierre overheard me. “Fuck you, man, I’m telling you, it was the Mayor and he was looking for rock.” The rest of the car burst out laughing. “The mayor of D.C.’s a crackhead,” Baxter said as he stepped out of the minivan. “That’s funny.” We made it to the girl’s house, running in and pulling the door shut behind us. As a group, we stayed in one room, unwilling or unable to separate, making it to the basement office some time after three a.m.
The girl made the mistake of showing us the business phones, with conference calling and speakers. Pierre was the first to try it. He dialed the 7-Eleven and then the Tenleytown Minimart that was across the street from the 7-Eleven, putting the phone on speaker and mute at the same time.
“Hello. This is 7-Eleven.”
“Tenleytown Minimart. What can I do for you?”
“You called me.”
“No, you called me.”
They hung up and Pierre called back a few times, as the conversation escalated.
“Why you calling me… asshole,” said the Tenleytown Minimart.
“I’m going to kick your ass, bitch. I didn’t call you,” said the 7-Eleven.
We laughed, and I pictured a fight between the two clerks at the halfway point between both places.
“Wets carl swarm one erles,” said Ukala.
I dialed the numbers I remembered.
“Hello” said Charlie
“What’s up?” said Paul.
“I don’t know. You called me.”
“I didn’t call you.”
“I don’t understand. What’s going on?” said Charlie.
“I think someone’s playing a prank on us,” said Paul.
The room exploded with laughter. But they couldn’t hear us on the phone.
“Well then hang up,” said Charlie.
“Let’s go,” said Baxter. A faint blue light filtered through the basement window.
Baxter’s pupils had returned to their normal size.
“I don’t want to leave,” said Pierre. “It’s scary out there.”
“You’re safe in the minivan,” I said.
The minivan pulled us up the hill. The branches overhead and the buildings were flashing red and blue. Nobody said anything since they weren’t sure if they were seeing anything at all with the acid still churning in their systems. Reaching the top of the hill, we saw that there was a sea of police cars packed tightly around the side of the Capital. At the center of the activity was an armored Humvee which had crashed onto one of the cement pylons that ringed the Capital.
“What the fuck? I told you it wasn’t safe out here. It’s fucking World War III,” said Pierre.
“Oh man, I feel the acid again,” said Baxter. “The road’s moving like the back of a snake.”
“There is a cop behind us,” said Ukala. I turned and saw the cop car following close behind.
“Baxter, just keep following the snake back,” I said.
Pierre dropped his head into his lap and groaned. “I can’t go back to jail tonight.”
“Everyone just look ahead and act natural,” I said. Pierre lifted his head and we sat perfectly straight. I was going to jail. College, forget about it. Mother and Father were going to be pissed. Damn Baxter and his plan. I knew better than to be led down the hole by Baxter. There was silence in the minivan. “Is he still behind us?” said Baxter.
“Look in your rearview mirror,” said Pierre.
“Yeah, right! I got one of those,” said Baxter. “I’m wasted… I don’t see anything.”
Everyone in the car turned and looked out the back window at the same time, and there was nothing there.
The minivan parked on the side of Mother’s house.
“You want to see something,” I said to the group. They followed me into my neighbor’s back yard. In front of us stood a nine-foot grizzly bear carved of wood with a two-foot erection. “What the fuck!” said Ukala and I reminded him to keep his voice down. Next to it was a puddle, but since it hadn’t rained, I leaned down to have a closer look. I was seeing the reflection of the bear and its giant erection standing over me, when a beautiful gold fish the size of my forearm swam up to the surface, looking at me with its eye before heading back for the deep. “Oh shit!” I jumped back. “I must still be tripping. Let’s go to my house,” I said as I walked out of the backyard, checking the second story to make sure no one was watching us. The clock read 7:45 a.m. Baxter put a tape on the stereo.
“Who is this?” I asked.
“Fugazi. It’s a rare live demo.”
“I saw them play at D.C. Space. It was their second show. It was some kind of secret thing, and I snuck in without knowing who they were. It was great.”
I laid my head under the speaker and listened. Ukala turned on the television. The morning news was showing the scene we had witnessed at the Capital and I expected to see cops leading off someone we knew, but it was some deranged-looking man in his late twenties.
“An armored vehicle was stolen from a base by a former national guardsman and driven over one hundred eighty miles followed by, at times, more than a hundred law enforcement vehicles,” said the newscaster just before they cut to an officer at the scene. “We couldn’t shoot his tires out, so we had to wait for him to run out of gas.”
“That was real?” said Pierre, surprised.

from Rich Boy Cries for Mama by Ethan H. Misker

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Michael

So raw I stick to the black floor that is one mile thick and I get all the coins under the first inch with my little nails, little because I pick at them. The dark room flashes purple like candy; always candy colors: purple and pink and blue and red. Women close their eyes as they dance, and I see them go into themselves, go far away. I know parts of their bodies hang loose above me, swinging down when they close their eyes. It is fun to crawl.
The air is heavy, pushing the floor down. The floor heaves like someone’s chest as they sigh, the people wander and creak the floor while I’m crawling to the other side of the stage. The stage is at the deepest part of the room furthest from the street. There’s a stick to the microphone, someone touched candy before they sang in it. Someone touches my shoulder, leans low over me, and says “Sugar, you know you can sing to me whenever you like.” I look at her eyes. “Sugar, I can feel you when you sing, I want you to imagine me. Just think of me and I’ll be there, okay?” She holds my shoulder still. Her eyes shine out from the candy colors on her face and I know her eyes will always see me, and when her face is dust her eyes will still be there, but I don’t look at her anymore. I look for more coins to give my dad so that all of us can leave.
I keep crawling and then I feel her eyes on me, warm then hot, feel her wanting and then her need, feel her begin me. On my knees, I use my pocketknife to carve a quarter from the corner. The first things I see when I turn around are her hands. She holds one with the other, all of her inside herself, protecting. I feel her on my shoulder, feel her touch me and I shiver. Now her eyes still shine, they sweep the floor as though for me. She puts the back of her hand lightly to her cheek, and her weight on both hips. Her eyebrows raise, she tilts her head up to the ceiling and back down and that’s when she notices me. She flinches away, heaves her chest, walks hard and she goes cold, won’t look at me. As my clothes sag and clink I stand against them and back towards the door, waiting. She won’t look at me. What did I do.

-Soren Stockman

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Kickstarter Us to Lisbon!

Don't forget about this folks! We need help in our conquest of international art collaboration, give us some support!

Aqua Duck

1988 Washington D.C.

The aqueduct ran parallel to the Key Bridge. No longer in use, over time most of it had been reduced to rubble. The ruins sat just off the canal that flowed below M Street and had been a favorite drinking spot of punks for more than a decade. Reading like a juvenile’s diary, the graffiti embossed on the arch of the Key Bridge became my entertainment when conversation ran dull. “Eat the rich. Punk’s not dead.” Dates went as far back as ‘78, but most of the scribbling had been done in the ‘80s. Things such as iron crosses etched in black marker or three x’s carved over two bars like Washington’s flag of three red stars and to red bars. It was a symbolic of D.C. Hardcore. I had five days left until I moved to New York.
Paul and Charlie chugged Milwaukee’s Best in a contest of who could finish first. I slyly whipped out my marker, turned my back to the two, and added to the arch. “Charlie is a pussy.”
“Hey Charlie! Check this out. Someone wrote that you’re a pussy on the wall!”
Paul finished off his can and hurled it into the water. Charlie came in at a slow second and in his dopey stride, stumbled over to see what I was so fixated on.
“That could be any Charlie,” he said.
I pointed to the crude stick drawing I had done that had a giant head.
“Oh, man! Fucking assholes. You got a pen?” Charlie was an easy target.
“No,” I said.
Paul sniffed the bold lettered “Charlie” on the wall and commented that it smelled fresh. I noticed a new tattoo on Paul’s neck. It was a car, but not a cool car or a hot rod. It was a beaten up wreck like the cars he owned. Charlie’s stare then focused onto me. I pulled the marker out of the inside pocket of my leather jacket and scratched out the “Charlie” and replaced it with “Ukala.”
The aqueducts were a summer camp for the young punks and we were their counselors.
Harboring runaways, underage youth, and underage drinkers, it was a prime location for loitering kids. We mingled with bums on the prowl for a free drink. Bums bought booze for the under-aged and in return, got alcohol for themselves with our parents’ money. Well, at least Charlie’s and mine, Paul was poor. The dirty old bastards had another advantage in this exchange; they got to hang around and hit on our girls, but they were old and feeble and couldn’t do anything even if they wanted to.
The aqueducts provided four escape routes: two ways along the canal up to Georgetown via a dirt trail that ran up a steep hill and two others that ran down a path along an embankment. Parole and truant officers or a cop on the beat sometimes showed up. We’d disperse like a football team breaking a huddle. In the midst of night, we could hear their cars pulling up on the road below. Their flashlights could be seen bouncing through the underbrush in search of a pathway up. A cop usually tripped over a fat tree root midway up the trail, making sneaking up on us unlikely. But most often the authorities overlooked the area. I had walked that trail so many times that I knew where to step without making a sound. The downward paths led onto the end of K Street. The Whitehurst Causeway ran overhead and the Potomac River was about a hundred yards away. Most people used the end of K Street as parking and many petty thieves used the street as a hunting ground to steal from cars since it was tucked away under the causeway and brush surrounding the woods.
Paul broke into a car at the end of K Street and took a stun gun. It was sticking out of his back pocket when he took the marker from me and wrote under the arch: Paul kicks ass. Kiss Army. I had a vision of him when we had been around seven or eight and he had had the Kiss make-up on. Then Charlie’s endless prattle echoing off the arch brought me back to the present. His voice had a nasal sound, like his giant head was slowly collapsing inwards. I could smell fermentation and decay coming up from the bottom of the canal. What next, I thought. I was already bored and tried to stifle a yawn. I craned my neck to look at Paul. Paul’s eyes were riveted on a jogger on the other side of the canal. He had had that same look when we were kids, and I knew he was about to do something bad. During the daytime, Georgetown residents jogged back and forth along a gravel trail that lined the canal and even though it was dusk, there were a few left-over runners making their way home.
“I want to test this out,” said Paul, pulling the stun gun out and telling me about the car. “Maybe he was a cop?”
Then without warning, Paul turned to Charlie and pressed it against Charlie’s ribs, and a spark shot through his side. Charlie dropped to the ground, moaning and rolling from side to side.
“It works!” exclaimed Paul with a blank expression.
A jogger, unaware of a stun gun in the hands of Paul, pounded the pebbles. Sneakers tied snugly to his feet and headphones probably piping Billy Joel into his ears. He ran past Paul, who crept up behind him and stunned him. The man fell onto his side and momentarily lay on the ground randomly kicking as the residuals of shock passed, then rose confused and staggered away. Charlie was getting up when Paul handed me the stun gun.
“Go ahead, try it,” said Paul, motioning for me to shock Charlie again.
I looked at the hard plastic weapon. It was heavy in my hand. I squeezed the trigger. A blue spark shot out in the air. Charlie gave me a pathetic look. “No thanks.” I gave it back to Paul.
“Yeah, you were always the good guy,” he said.

From Rich Boy Cries for Mama by Ethan H. Minsker

Friday, December 4, 2009

Cowboys and Indians

“Running Bear is the only 100% authentic American Indian I have ever met,” said Edgea. “Not any of that ‘I’m a quarter Cherokee, half Choctaw, 1/18 Blackfoot’ confusion. At what point do you drop the title of Indian from your bloodline?” We were at Dupont Circle. I didn’t want to be there, but Baxter wanted to pick up some acid. My eyes swept over the scene, wondering if I might find the ghost of Ronnie Motherfucking Collins there.
“Do you think he would tattoo us?” asked Baxter.
“I think if you have the money, he will tattoo anything.”
I had seen the Indian with long black hair, tanned skin, a husky build, large belly, and a speckling of poorly done tattoos at shows. I guess what they say about barbers is also true of tattoo artists. If there are two barbers you go to the guy with the bad hair cut. Running Bear had a taste for drink and an authentic Indian name, but he also went by his white name, Duane. He was every bit the Indian we cowboys imagined, a Navajo from the Navajo Nation. He would later tell us that his wife and children lived in a trailer on the reservation, making them among the wealthiest in their destitute community. Running Bear traveled the country seasonally, tattooing out of the rooms he rented, making work and living space the same thing, sending a portion of his earnings home to support his family. His earlier tattoos were thick-lined designs speckled with dots, hammered out with guitar strings. Only when viewed from a few feet’s distance could a person decipher the images. In the 1980s, tattoo artists didn’t ink faces or hands. Running Bear had no problem tattooing any part you wanted. He didn’t care how old you were, or if you had infectious diseases. If you had the cash, drugs, or booze to trade, he would do the work. If you had a problem with the finished product or an angry mother came around wanting to know who had tattooed her 15-year-old child, Running Bear packed up his tattoo gun, sterilizer, and a few bags of old band shirts and moved on to the next town with his brothers in tow.
When Baxter and I decided to get tattoos, we knew that the work had to be done in one sitting. Driving out to Virginia, we parked behind a pawnshop, then walked into the building next door, up one flight. We found his apartment, a one bedroom with a basic kitchen. A kid was there before us, so we settled in for the wait.
Weasel, the ringleader of the skinhead/gay-bashing incident that would happen a few days later, was about to get his first tattoo. Baxter and I waited restlessly for our chance under the gun.
“Is it going to hurt?” whined the Weasel.
“Uh, yeah,” Running Bear answered without hearing the question.
“I'm on Quaaludes. Will they dull the pain?” His face was devoid of color. He took a sip of his third beer and squirmed in the barber’s chair.
“Okay, I want a star on the corner of my eye.”
“What? Girls get stars.” Running Bear said, brushing the long, black stray hair from his eyes. His head was always tilted forward and his hair hung in front of his face like a curtain.
He puffed at the joint squeezed between his fingers before passing it to his brothers, two of whom always traveled with him and lived off of his tab. All three brothers would have drunken fistfights, waking up in the late afternoon, covered in scrapes and bruises. None would remember the reason behind the fight or where it had taken place. The smallest one started complaining about his bloody knuckles. The Weasel just sat there, like a lump of shit, wasting prime time. I wanted to hold him down with one hand and punch his face with the other, but that wouldn’t get me tattooed any quicker. So I just sat there, and from the look on Baxter’s face, he was thinking along my lines, too.
“I'll get a tear drop instead,” the Weasel decided, but he didn’t know if that’s what he really wanted. After giving it a few more minutes, he would decide on something else.
“A tear drop means you killed someone,” Baxter interjected. It also meant you were in a Latino gang, but the Weasel wanted a new image. Either way, during the next few days he would come close to murder, get arrested, and then bailed out by his father, go on the run with his dad’s help, and eventually escape the conviction by moving to Israel.
Running Bear's eyes glazed over. Sucking in the last bits of the joint’s smoke, he shrugged and dipped the tip of the tattoo gun into the thimble-sized cup that held murky black ink. With his index finger and thumb, he spread the skin just above Weasel’s cheek, adjacent to his eye. Duane dropped his foot onto the pedal and the gun begun rattling off its ticking hammer; it was a noise I would soon associate with the onset of pain. He lightly pressed the tip into Weasel's skin and made small circles. The Weasel’s eye filled with black ink. He cried out and shoved Duane’s arm away and ran to the bathroom to flush out his eyes. "He's getting a tattoo right there. What does he expect?" Baxter shook his head.
Making it back to the barber’s chair, the Weasel braced himself again. But before Running Bear dipped the needle into the ink, he whined, “Just do the outline.”
“It's a small dot that will take a minute,” Running Bear scoffed. It was rare that Running Bear spoke at all.
“Just the outline,” the Weasel echoed.
A few seconds later, it was over and the Weasel slapped a $100 bill into Running Bear’s hand for a tattoo that had taken ten minutes and dashed out the door. Running Bear called the hundred dollars the “Moron Tax.” Baxter's tattoo took two hours to complete and depicted an HR Giger alien ripping through his flesh. $60. Mine, a serpent slain by a samurai, took an hour and a half. $60. They were both sizable pieces, prices slashed due to the fact we had brought our own case of beer. Between Baxter and me, Running Bear and the Brothers, it was gone in 30 minutes. Running Bear’s work ethic, tattooing hands, faces and underage kids, kept him out of the legitimate tattoo parlors. But somehow we had found each other, and for us he was cheap and we didn’t need our parent’s permission.
“This is good,” said Baxter as I tried to forget the stinging feeling on my arm. “It marks the beginning of something new. Your going to college in New York and me off to California.”
At Baxter’s house, I pulled off the bandage. The image of my tattoo was stained on the inside. Charlie stopped over and was as excited as us to see the tattoos. The skin was red and raised but the image was clean and black.
“I’m going to get one,” said Charlie.
“Sure. I can hook that up,” said Baxter.
Charlie wouldn’t stop talking about it. Listening to him grew tiresome.
“Baxter, shut him up before I go nuts,” I said when Charlie left to use the toilet. “When he’s alone, I bet he talks to himself.”
“He’s not that bad,” said Baxter. “Why don’t you come with us?”
“No, thanks.”
I smiled at Baxter. The next day, Baxter drove Charlie out to Virginia to see Running Bear and in a short time, Charlie had a large, black-lined tribal piece, lines that swirled to points, a fast growing ivy of pure abstract designs. They say tattoos are addictive; Charlie had become a junkie. A few days later, Running Bear left without warning and went back to the Reservation.

-From Rich Boy Cries for Mama by Ethan H. Minsker

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Flexatarian

There is a little vegan bakery located on St Marks Place near Avenue A. They recently reopened after being closed for 92 days of renovation. I do not know why it took them so long to renovate but I am very happy that they have reopened. I FUCKING LOVE THE VEGAN BAKERY. They have all kinds of healthy low calorie food that tastes fucking amazing. ( My friend Harry spits out anything I force him to try from the vegan bakery and my girlfriend absolutely refuses to eat anything from there. People are strange!) After the vegan bakery reopened I walked in and ordered a "spinach tofu turnover" and an "apple strawberry turnover" which was going to be my dinner and dessert. I told the men behind the counter how fucking happy I was that they had reopened and I was struggling to find quick healthy food in my neighborhood (the east village of NYC). They thanked me for being an enthusiastic customer. I then explained to them that I WAS NOT A VEGAN NOR A VEGATARIAN and I enjoyed eating cheeseburgers, pulled pork, turkey burgers, catfish burgers, beef on weck, Buffalo chicken wings, and flank steak sandwiches! A look of HORROR appeared on the faces of the men behind the counter at the vegan bakery and the customers that were waiting in line behind me shook their heads in disgust!!!! It was so silent in the room that you could hear a pin drop. It was if I said " I AM GONNA COME TO YOUR HOUSE AND KILL YOUR FAMILY AND BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN!!!!" Am I the only person who eats at the vegan bakery and eats meat? I find this hard to believe but this seems to be the case. I love my spinach tofu turnover but I also love my pulled pork sandwich.

-Brother Mike Cohen 11/30/09 NYC

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Another Boring Drug Story

My first time doing weed was completely accidental.

I was in the theatre in high school and every year the advanced students would go to a festival type thing up at Western Washington University. Some of the actors would show scenes and such. I was not an actor, but I went because I was in the class and I did other stuff. Like directing and shit.

We stayed in a hotel and roomed with a group of 4 or so. I don't remember at all who was in my actual room, but on one of the nights (probably a friday) we were all getting ruckus in our rooms. You know how high school kids are, let them run loose and they wreak havoc.

I ended up hanging out in a room with Taylor, Hilary and Katie. For the sake of discretion I won't give last names, although I highly doubt they read this. All three of them are actors and I was never really great friends with any of them, so how we came to be in the same room is still a mystery to me.

I was a good kid in high school, I played sports, didn't drink or do drugs, so while everyone else was busy drinking the beers and vodka that had been smuggled into the hotel, I was sitting in the room having a very odd conversation with these three (all drunk to one extent or another) about tattoos and who knows what. Taylor and I compared tattoos and reveled in the fact that we were two of the very few kids in school who had them.

We were talking about something when we get a knock on the door and another theatre buddy, Matan walks in. He has a small handful of brownies. Of course we all jump at the chance to have one. Stuffing them into our mouths, Matan smiles and heads back out the door.

Maybe half an hour later my head starts feeling a little dizzy and I began to get super talkative. The rest of them seem to be having the same issues. I don't feel sick but I do kinda feel like I was dancing outside of my body. It wasn't horrible, but still unnerving. The four of us spent the better part of two hours crammed into one bed telling stories about our childhoods and comparing the same tattoos over and over again.

This is when I figure out that I was the only one of the group who had rushed for a brownie, thinking I was just going to get a sugar and chocolate rush. They totally knew. I totally didn't.

-marissa

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The No Dance School Dance School

Boston MA 3:58 AM November 21st 2009. I just woke up from an odd dream.

I was sitting across from a desk. Behind the desk was a man with a thin mustache that looked like a ladies legs spread with the toes pointed at his ears. Behind the man was an open space with wooden floor and mirrored wall with a stretching bar. Couples were doing a waltz without music. A plaque on the desk reads, “It’s not dancing if there is no music.”
“So how can I help you?” asks the man.
“I was wondering if you would like to expand your business? How about a No School School? People could show up for class then sleep through it, or if they had a test just fail it since it didn’t matter. I could be like therapy for some people.”

He gave me a blank stare. “That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard.”

-Ethan H. Minsker

Friday, November 20, 2009

Motherfucking Pot Brownie

Last Wednesday it was Yasmin’s birthday party. Yasmin and Alexi are my Wednesday night DJs at a little bar called Black and White on East 10th Street where I bartend. For Yasmin’s birthday there were cupcakes and brownies. Note: Ethan Minsker loves chocolate and hates drugs-drinking-smoking-caffeine. So I asked Alexi for a brownie. She gave me a strange look. “What, I can’t have a brownie?” I said.
“Sure,” she brought one brownie and a cupcake for me and the other bartender to share. Damn. I wanted one of each all to myself. After the party moved on, I found another brownie sitting at an empty table wrapped in wax paper. I served the room and no one seemed interested in it. So I scooped it up and went behind the bar, turning my back to the few people in the room and opened it up. This brownie was different from the others. Its top had a marshmallow gummy paste on it. If my wife were there, she would have said, “One is enough.” But she wasn’t there and two is always better than one when it comes to brownies. Fuck it. I ate it in one bite.
Two hours later, it was just after 4 am. I was closing the bar when I started to feel strange, dizzy, paranoid and off. “What the fuck is going on?” I thought. Am I about to have a stroke? Should I go to the hospital? What had poisoned me? The only thing I had eaten was the brownie. Then it came to me, pot brownie. I stumbled home, turned on the light in the kitchen. The light woke my wife, who then came into the room, took one look at me and said, “What’s wrong with you?”
“I think I had a pot brownie.”
“What! You don’t even smoke weed.”
“It was by accident.”
“Come to bed and sleep it off.”
I lay in bed. Waves of warm tingling rolled over me. As soon as I closed my eyes I had visions of robots in yellow, mixed with cartoon images like something out of the pages of Juxtapose magazine. Very trippy. I could feel my teeth, then the back of my earlobe and other parts of my body I didn’t know about. The next day I noticed little things out of place from when I came home the night before, like my contact lens case - both lenses were on the same side.
The next week I asked Yasmin about the brownie. “You guys drugged me.”
“The brownies we had were fine. Is that what you ate?”
I told her about the last one on the table in wax paper.
“You should know better than eating strange food left on a table,” she told me.

How true.

-Ethan H. Minsker

Sunday, November 15, 2009

From Rich Boy Cries for Mama

Rock Head

“Your mom’s a whore,” said Paul. Mother’s last words floated in my mind, “You would like school if you tried to make more friends there.” It had only been a week since the ski trip. Paul was sitting in front of me on the school bus and had turned around to give me this bit of information. He had short wavy brown hair and a pug nose. His features seemed too large for his face. “She’s a whore!”
“Don’t say that,” I told him. I could feel my defenses rising. I wanted to start calling him names, but Patsy did a good job shielding me from the vocabulary I needed as weapons.
“And your sister’s a lesbian,” he said. I didn’t know what that meant but I knew Paul didn’t mean it as a good thing. The bus headed to the Lab School. It shook and rumbled down Wisconsin Avenue. Paul’s hair was slicked back and he had on a leather jacket with the collar turned up, emulating “Fonzie” from Happy Days on TV.
“They are both whores.”
“Stop saying that.”
“Whores, Whores! WHORES!”
Next to me was my Star Trek lunch box. I gripped its handle tightly and each time he said “Whore”, I banged it against the back of his seat.
“WHORES! And what are you going to do about it?”
I swung the lunch box high over his head and brought it down with all my strength. Paul’s head was harder then I thought it would be and when I hit him, his head didn’t move. The other kids were quiet. Paul was quiet. Then the blood poured from his head. The other kids started screaming. The bus driver looked back and stopped. He called for an ambulance. Immediately, I wanted to take it back. I closed my eyes, thinking hard, trying to stop time and go backwards. But when I opened my eyes, everyone was looking at me as if I were a monster.
I felt remorse wash over me or maybe I was afraid of what Mother would do to me. Tears started running down my face. “I didn’t mean to hurt you,” I said, but he didn’t answer. He didn’t even cry. “I’m sorry. Please be okay.”
The paramedics made their way to where he was sitting and wrapped his head with gauze.
“Paul. I’m sorry,” I said as he walked off the bus. He stuck his thumb up in the air and, just like Fonzie, said “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.” I knew he wasn’t going to be mad at me. From then on, I would feel obligated to try and be friendly with him.
I was suspended for three days and cried for the first two until Mother said, “When I was your age, I was playing around with a baseball bat and my friend walked up and I hit him in the head. Just about killed him, but he got better and everything was okay.” I felt a little better. I wasn’t the worst person on Earth and Mother had been bad too. She really understood how I felt. “But I want you to be nice to that boy from now on, okay?”
I nodded.
On my first day at the Lab School, I had seen Paul’s tennis shoes sticking out from under the timeout box. In class he was always getting in trouble. He didn’t have any friends, but Mother made it clear I should try and befriend him.
I found him at lunch. His back was turned to me, but I could see white make-up at the fringes of his face, up near his hairline and around his ears. I sat next to him. He turned to me, his face was covered in black and white makeup with a silver star over one eye, just like a member of the band “Kiss”, he explained. I had no clue who Kiss was and thought he made it up. He wanted to be anyone other than himself. I understood the feeling. It was the nature of being dyslexic.
I was about to say I was sorry when he burst in with, “We can be friends now!” He sounded desperate.
“Okay,” I said and, with that, the contract was made.
At my house, he didn’t wear the makeup; that was only on school days. We went outside and he grabbed a discarded sandwich bag that was lying on the sidewalk. He used it to pick up a pile of old dog poop, walked over to my neighbor’s car and slapped it down on the windshield, wiping it across the glass, in a motion that, if he was using a rag instead of crap, might have buffed it nicely.
“Why did you do that?” I said to him, utterly confused.
“Why the hell not?” he said back.
Paul was hyperactive; his outbursts were due to the chemical imbalances in his head. His dyslexia was related to being hyperactive. It made it impossible for him to focus. They grouped dyslexics on our inability to learn but, in fact, there was a wide range of reasons why we couldn’t learn. My difficulty was with codes and symbols; other kids could read them perfectly but once they were done, couldn’t remember a thing. Paul’s was hyperactivity. But at the time Paul was entertaining. I never knew what would happen next. And, in part, that was why he did the things he did. If it was disgusting, people gave him more attention, even if it was just to run away.
We went into the house. Mother had made breakfast of sausage, eggs and toast. Sitting at the table, I filled my plate and made myself an egg and sausage sandwich. Paul looked at the sausages, then turned to me.
“Is this pork? I’m not supposed to eat pork.” He could play with poo, but couldn’t eat pork?
“I think so,” I said. “It tastes really good. Try some.” I gobbled it down.
He shook his head.
“Why can’t you eat it?”
“I’m Jewish.”
“My dad’s Jewish but I can eat it.”
“If you’re Jewish you’re not supposed to, ” he said.
I didn’t understand.
“It looks good. What does it taste like?”
“It tastes great. Salty and sweet at the same time,” I said.
He picked up a few links of sausage, eating the eggs first, then stabbing the sausages with his fork. “Don’t tell anyone,” he said just before taking a bite.
He finished the rest.
We suffered the same torture at the Lab School from older bullies like Sermon. Out of the two of us, Paul was by far the tougher.
“You stink like shit,” Paul said to Sermon. Sermon punched Paul so hard he fell down, but when Paul got up he just said it again. Sermon kept beating him, but Paul wouldn’t take it back. I hated Sermon but I hated Paul too sometimes. Why would Paul want to get hurt again? He was so desperate for attention and watching him get hurt made me feel bad. When Sermon stopped and walked away, Paul called after him from the floor with a bloody lip. “See, he even knows it! You stink like shit!”
Physically, Paul had been a bit shorter than me, not husky, but not frail either, with brown wavy hair that he kept in check by constantly combing. His brown puppy eyes seemed to beg for forgiveness, but then he would just be bad again.
Every day before we went to the playground, Paul would stop by the nurse’s office, his face painted like “Kiss”. He had to pick up his Ritalin. At lunch Paul walked over to a kid who was eating his sandwich from a paper bag. The boy was pulling the crust off his bread. Paul stood behind him for a moment to make sure I had an eye on him, then slapped the kid hard on the top of his head. The teacher grabbed Paul by the tender part of his arm and quickly pushed him toward the door. Paul smiled on his way and stuck his tongue out, wiggling it like Gene Simmons. He was drinking in the attention from the other students, his audience, slowing his exit. The teacher pushed with more force. The timeout box, which was more of a chair with blinders, sat next to the receptionist. I could tell when Paul was in it by his tennis shoes. They were sad and beaten, worn down and out. He periodically painted them white with Liquid Paper, but they never looked new.
His house was in North East and his was the only white family on the block. Walking into his house for the first time, I passed the living room, looking through the clear plastic sheets meant to keep in the heat. I could see that the floor had fallen into the basement.
“Don’t go in there.” Paul led me on and I didn’t mention it to him or the other kids at school.
His family was poor white trash, with four boys and two girls, His parents were messy. His mother was overweight and his father slouched. I felt lucky to have the parents I did.
The last day I hung out with him we aimlessly walked around his neighborhood. The front of Paul’s house had bare wood siding. In the corners, you could still see the green primer. The front door was filled with tan wood putty that hadn’t been sanded. The paneling had rotted away under all the windows. The steps were uneven and looked unsafe to use. The lawn was nothing more then dirt and patches and dead weeds. A broken down boiler, refrigerator and television sat on one side of the house. The walkway was cracked and uneven. Every other house on the block was well kept. As we walked away from his house, some kind of change in polarity had taken place inside him as if the further away he was from his house, the less shame he felt .
“Watch this!” Paul exclaimed. He strutted over to a black kid about our age and punched him in the face. The fight lasted under a minute. Paul lay on the ground, receiving blows by the dozen. The black kid, tired of the workout, finally released him. He walked over to me and said, “What are you looking at cracker!” Then socked me in the eye. I grabbed Paul and we ran away.
“Did you see that?” he laughed, unaffected. Paul's head was rock hard. His supernatural strength lay in his extra thick skull. It must’ve been at least four inches deep because he didn’t have fear of the pain that comes with a beating. My eye was already turning blue. I wasn’t as tough and I wouldn’t be going back to Paul’s house. At school the next day, I avoided him. At lunch he cornered me.
“Let’s go to the arcade,” he said.
“No. We will get in trouble.”
“No we won’t. After we can just go home.”
“I have to hang out with Dash.”
“Dash is an asshole.”
“Why do you say that?”
“He’s just some stupid fat kid.”
“He’s my friend.”
“Come on let’s go to the arcade.”
“No.” I walked over to where Dash was and turned my back to Paul. I could feel him watching me, then he faced the kid closest to him and slapped him hard across the face. The teacher sent Paul to the box. I wouldn’t hang out with him again until I was in high school.

-Ethan H. Minsker

Friday, November 13, 2009

From Rich Boy Cries for Mama

1974 cut from the book.

“I can’t raise the children by myself,” said Mother, her eyes fixed on Father.
He barely looked up from his papers, “Let’s get some help. Maybe my mother could move in.”
Mother raised an eyebrow. “That’s not going to happen.”

We were at our home on Tennyson Street in Chevy Chase D.C. The house was basic, two floors with a basement and a front and back yard. It looked like every other home on the block except for the white wash paint on the bricks on the front side of the house. Mother did it herself but never stripped off the old paint so now it was peeling. Our front lawn was covered with flakes of white paint.

Sister was 4. I was 5. The nanny was new and watched us during the day. The nanny was German and believed in a stern approach when dealing with children. Her face was long with a sharp nose and a chin thrust prideful into the air. Sister was made to sit in a chair with her back kept straight. “It’s good for your posture,” said the nanny in a thick accent as she braided Sister’s hair, winding it into rolls, just like her own hair. When the nanny left the room, Sister’s gaze held mine. She said in a little voice, “I hate her.”
“I hate her too,” I said.
“She braids my hair so tight it hurts.”
The nanny came back into the room and we stopped talking. She was carrying bowls and placed them on the table in front of us.
“It’s time for dinner, children.”
I sat at the table but my eyes were barely able to see over the edge of the bowl. The food was green with bits of something black that looked like beetles and worms blended together.
“I don’t want this,” I said.
“There will be no argument. Eat your food.”
“I want Mommy,” said Sister.
“There is nothing wrong with your eggplant soup. Now eat, children, before it gets cold.”
I scooped up a spoonful and slowly brought it to my mouth. It tasted terrible, but I kept eating. I was scared of the nanny.

When Mother came home that night, we pleaded with her not to leave us with the nanny, but the next day she was back.

“Anastasia, after I fold the laundry, time to do your hair.” The nanny walked into the basement to tend to the laundry.
“Let’s go find Mommy,” I said. I led Sister into the living room where my toys were. I was wearing one-piece pajamas with feet on the bottom. Unzipping the front, I stuffed all my toys inside, filling my legs and arms first, then my belly. Sister started to cry again, “I don’t want my hair braided. It hurts.” We walked out the front door and started down the street. I didn’t know which way downtown was so I just walked. Mother was driving home when she saw us walking up the street holding hands. She squinted, not sure she was really looking at her children. She slowed the car down, pulling next to us. “Where are
you two off to?” she said and smiled. “We’re coming downtown to find you,” said Sister. Mother put us in the back seat and drove the two blocks back home. Looking in the back mirror, she wondered what I had stuffed in my pajamas. The next day,
the nanny was gone. I had thought out a plan and carried it out. By doing something, I had changed my environment. I wouldn’t forget it. For the moment I was happy. I didn’t want anything to change. Who needs a nanny anyway?

-Ethan H. Minsker

Monday, November 9, 2009

Kickstarter: Help us Get to Lisbon!

A bunch of the Antagonists will be going to Lisbon in 2010 to create an art show! We're going to be working with international artist, street art, music shows and making a documentary of it all.

This great website called Kickstarter is one way we're looking for help from all of you! They give us a platform to have anyone and everyone pledge to help us fund some of our costs for Lisbon.

For different amounts we're also giving incentives, such as t-shirts and DVDs, just for pledging a few dollars. For example, pledge $15 and you'll get a DVD, pledge $100 and you'll get a limited edition print plus both of our DVDs! This goes on and on, you can read more about it at the Kickstarter website.



We greatly appreciate any and all help. As a community of working artists, our goal is to always assist each other in our endeavors, so provoke us into doing art by pledging to get us to Lisbon!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Brooklyn Museum Screening

As many of you know, we have this movie out called Anything Boys Can Do.

Did you know we just had a screening for it at the Brooklyn Museum? Apart from the usual suspects attending, we had people show up who are not involved in the Antagonists, and they had some of the most interesting questions to ask during the Q&A afterwards.

This opportunity was really great for us; if we can begin to infiltrate the "high" art world with our raggedy band of impressively talented, yet unknown, artists, then who knows where we'll be off to next!

As a reminder (we're so good at reminders) you can purchase the film at the Brooklyn Museum, or at St. Marks Bookstore. Of course you can always grab one of the Antagonists from the street and they'll figure out a way for you to buy a copy as well. Probably a t-shirt too.

The DVD comes with a bonus that we did not show at the Museum. There is a shorter documentary called Mark of the Ninja which chronicles street art in NYC and has many of the faces you know and love from the Antagonists. Really it's like 2 movies in 1, so we're giving you a fucking deal.

SO BUY IT HERE!

Below you can see some of the Q&A.





And here's the trailer for the movie!!


BUY IT HERE TOO!!

From Rich Boy Cries for Mama

Girls

I had caught a glimpse of the first nipple that wasn’t my own when I had been very young, maybe six years old. She was a woman coming out of the ocean at Bethany Beach. At nine, I fell in love for the first time. I saw down Jen’s cotton v neck t-shirt. Jen’s chest was as flat as mine. If I had put any thought into it, I could have looked at my own chest in the mirror and pretended it was hers. She was eight. She hadn’t yet developed. She had a blond bob, a sprinkling of freckles across her nose, blue eyes and lips that looked soft. I never talked to her. Dangerous. Shyness came with the edge of puberty and it was dangerous to the development of my psyche. I didn’t like being ignored. Jen moved to another school and I never got to know her. I hit the next girl I had a crush on. I slapped on top of her head or kicked the back of her chair until she cried. When I hit a girl, she knew I existed. But Mother put an end to that and punished me by making me stay in my room. The girl switched schools, anyway.
I was shy with girls. At the Lab School, the classes were mixed, with different grades. They didn’t even call them grades; instead they were groups, so kids of different ages were lumped together. It was a simple trick so you couldn’t be compared with the kids in normal schools. It was in one of the mixed classes that I first saw Gigi. She walked into the room, her ponytail swinging back and forth, sweeping against the back of her neck like an obsessed old woman keeping her sidewalk free of leaves in the fall. Gigi smiled and shyly looked away. Even though the smile wasn’t for me, it made the butterflies in my belly erupt in a frenzy. She was older by a few years and more developed than the girls my age.
“She has boobs,” said Larry. He was my age, too, and had just started to notice. But for him it was easy, even though he still had baby fat,girls liked him.

1985
I was fifteen, in the basement of Ted’s house in Glover Park, when I came across his father’s old comic books. Crumb toons from the ‘60s. I’d never seen anything like them, full of big-breasted cartoon women having sex. I flipped the pages and got hard without even knowing it. “Would it be so bad if I took it out and let it breathe a little air? It can’t be healthy being locked behind a zipper.” I took it out, but first made sure that my friend was sleeping in the next room and that his parents weren’t going to catch me. I even walked upstairs to make sure, then went back down and locked myself in the bathroom. I was alone with my dick out and a comic book in my lap. Thumbing through the pages, I was cautious not to get a paper cut. It was so hard that it was throbbing. I had to touch it, but felt bad at the moment, even before I came. I hadn’t done it before and felt I was losing a part of my innocence. I was afraid of change. When I finished, I made a promise to myself never to do it again. I held out for three days. My parents were agnostic and never preached the sins of masturbation, so there was nothing wrong with what I was doing but I was still ashamed.

I have been enslaved, chained to my sex drive for seemingly my entire life by women, the slave drivers, the masters, and my keepers. Maybe it was an addiction? But didn’t everyone like sex? Maybe it just meant I was normal.

-Ethan H. Minsker


Monday, November 2, 2009

From: Rich Boy Cries for Mama

Tattooed Face - Adam’s story

It was 1988 in Washington, D.C. I was 18 years of age.

I noticed a kid standing by himself. He looked familiar and I knew I had seen him before.
“Hey Baxter, you know that guy?”
Baxter turned and saw whom I was pointing at.
“His name is Adam…Acid…. or something?” There was only one Adam I could remember from Glover Park. I wanted to beat his ass. He had made fun of me for being dyslexic and he had been friends with Cross. He had even had Cross call me and threaten me. I watched the kid and he didn’t seem to know anyone. I walked up to him and looked at his face. He looked like a model from a Sears catalog. It was the same Adam.
“What’s up, Adam?” My forehead was sloped forward into a scowl meant to look threatening but he didn’t react. Smiling, he made a fist for me to stack with my own in a manner of greeting.
“Forrr realz?” he said, but he looked sedated and I doubt he knew who I was.
Joining Baxter, who was borrowing a cigarette from Ukala, who was grumbling about having to give one, I said, “Adam’s a fucking Zombie.”
“Ert derr Erzid,” said Ukala and I knew he meant, “It’s the acid.”
Adam filtered through punks with their butchered multi-colored hair and stood off to the side, alone in a Gap red and white striped rugby crewneck. He had blond, well-kept hair and blue eyes, and he quietly surveyed the scene. He had good looks. Punk Rock embraced the ugly; therefore Adam was offensive.
The curiosity seekers came once or even twice to see the spectacle of Punk Rock, but Adam became a part of the scene. There were kids who went to every show, every party, owned all of the records and the right clothes and no one knew who they were. Adam didn’t talk to anyone but everyone knew who he was. He became famous for being strange. That’s how the scene was; you didn’t have to be talented, you just had to stand out.
I was still staring at Adam when Baxter said, “I got this new system. Place the napkin on your belly and anchor it with a raisin by stuffing the raisin in your belly button.”
“Why would you do that?” I asked.
“So when you’re jerking off, it goes right on to the napkin.” Baxter was trying to make me feel better and I appreciated it even if it didn’t work.
“You have put a lot of thought into it.”
“If you’re going to do something, do it right.”
Adam was standing to the side of the stage.
“That guy takes acid like it’s water,” said Baxter. “It’s the only reason he comes to the shows. I heard that he drank an entire vile of liquid acid. Man, it messed him up. It turned him into a permanent nightmare.”

Monday after school, Edgea picked up Baxter and me and we drove out to the airport, past the Pentagon. There was a field at the edge of the runway. It was dusk and unseasonably warm for January. I just had on my leather jacket and baseball hat. A few others were parked there, doing whatever they did in parks at night. “Come over here.” Edgea limped ahead. “It’s great.” We walked up to the chain link fence and lay down in the grass, looking up. It was a clear night and the lights from the city were far enough away not to be a distraction.
“I took that kid Acid Adam to see Running Bear today,” Edgea said, turning to look at the sky for a plane. I wondered if she was fucking him.
“He’s a freak,” said Baxter.
“Yeah, but he’s cute… or he was until today.”
“Okay?” I said, unable to understand.
“Running Bear tattooed Adam’s face, like the Rolling Stone’s album cover “Tattoo You,” with paisleys, triangles, squares and lines crossing his cheek, eye and most of his nose.” She stopped and the rumbling of the jet grew.
“Here it comes,” she said, then laid back down. “Just keep looking up.” The noise was deafening and I started yelling just because I could and no one would know what I was saying. “FUCK YOU! YOU CHEAP FUCKING WHORE! YOU FUCKING BASTARD! FUCK OFF!” I tilted my head up and the world was upside down. The belly of the plane looked full and ready to set down on us. It moved close and I felt it’s weight. The DC-10 floated by and landed a few hundred yards from us with a skidding sound. We drove back to the city.

A week later, we went down to Dupont Circle, parking in the lot on M Street. Police surrounded the bookstore and they stopped us at the corner.
“What’s going on, Officer?” Andrea asked. She had changed out of her work clothes and had on a very short skirt. The cop looked at Lars and I and wondered why she would waste her time hanging out with two guys like us. She smiled at the officer and he smiled back.
“Some nut is in there and he’s taken the clerk hostage,” he said.
I could see in the window as Acid Adam pulled the clerk to the back.
“Oh fuck!” said Lars.
Adam had stormed into a bookstore and then undressed next to the philosophy section. After getting naked, he had taken the clerk hostage and made absurd demands. We could hear him yelling out the door at the officers.
“Back off, you fucking ape! I know the Gorilla King, so stay the fuck away from me, man!” He pointed at his own head, then out the door at the police. “Man, this nigga be crazy!” he said. I remembered how in Glover Park he had talked like he was a black rap star.
Across the street a girl was screaming something at the cops. As she tried to rush in, one grabbed her around the waist. Lars pointed to her. “That’s Adam’s girlfriend.”
“He has a girlfriend?” I said. I hadn’t had a girlfriend in a long time. How did he have a girlfriend? He was an idiot, I thought. I guess it’s easier to get a girlfriend if you’re an idiot. Girls seem to like that. I looked at her. She had brown curly hair, and was skinny with lanky arms and legs. She looked like she was throwing a tantrum. The cop just stood there, ignoring her. She was cute, with bad skin. I glanced over at Adam. I could see his prick and naked skin. His face was a mess of thick black lines. I guess they deserved each other. I wished Dash was here. He would have thought the whole scene was absurd.
“Oh, yeah,” said Lars. “A really ugly bitch with severe acne scars. Her parents spent thousands of dollars on reconstructive surgery to smooth her skin. She looked pretty good but then she went hitchhiking in Maryland. An old pervert picked her up and attacked her. She jumped from the car and ran through the woods. In a panic, she fell into a rock quarry, breaking her fall with her face.”
I noticed something was happening in the bookstore. The clerk walked out and an officer ran up to her.
“He doesn’t have any weapons,” she said. Moments later a few of the cops walked into the store.
They took him away in restraints. The tattoos on his face had grown and spread down his neck, like an octopus feeding on some poor fish. It seemed as if the parts that made up his cheek were moving together and then I realized he was smiling. Since he never made any demands for money or threatened violence, he was released the next day. We saw him at the next show on Wednesday night.
“He’s not going to last long,” said Lars as he looked down at his own crappy tattoos.
“I don’t know about that. He seems like he’s doing just fine.”
“It’s said that if you have a tattooed face then you have a death wish. The unwanted and constant stares from strangers drive you mad. It is just bad luck to have a tattooed face.” It made sense, but I still wanted one, not on my face but on an arm or leg.

A month later I was at a show and the last band was over. On my way out Sermon (the cop) spotted me and waved me to him. I walked over reluctantly.
“Hey, remember that kid with the tattoos on his face?” he asked. He was in uniform and I wondered if the punk shows were his new beat or if he was just lonely.
“Acid Adam.”
“Look at this.” He handed me a Polaroid. Police officers stood on either side of a body hanging from a noose, arms wrapped around its shoulders as if they were old friends. Adam’s tattoos seemed darker against the backdrop, drained of color.
A shutter rattled through me. “What is this? He’s dead, right?” I said calmly.
“Yeah, he’s dead, alright. A friend of mine showed this to me and I thought it was the same guy. I figured you would know so I brought it here.”
“How did you know I was at this show?”
“It’s the only show tonight.”

“Acid Adam’s dead,” said Baxter over the phone Tuesday night.
“I know.” I didn’t know how I should feel. I’d hated him as a kid, but since he’d started hanging out I’d gotten used to seeing him around. He’d filled a void that I hadn’t known was there. When I was high off the ground, I had an urge to jump. The urge is what made me afraid of heights, not the height itself. I wanted to jump but I didn’t want to die. Adam had jumped.

Ethan H. Minsker


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

3 Tiny Fucks in the Veins of Paul

isn't it strange
the way it
always bends
like that

must be
unhappy
or at the very least
incorrect

----------------------------------------

Weird Brick Walls
Bad Damn Summer
Cream Green Specters
Damn Shitty Kids

-----------------------------------------

Small bad cracks between runes
Could have been birds


-Nicholas Katzban


From "Rich Boy Cries For Mama"

Pete the Party Freak

I was 18 in 1988. It was summer break. Washington, D.C.

Bethesda was a suburb between Friendship Heights and Rockville, Maryland. The local public school was Bethesda Chevy Chase High (BCC), and Red, Blink, and Pete had all attended it at one point. BCC wasn’t your typical public school. Montgomery County, which encompasses Chevy Chase, Bethesda, Rockville and other neighborhoods, was one of the wealthiest districts in the United States. It was home to many politicians and foreign dignitaries, so BCC had plenty of funding; Washington’s powerful made sure of that. Parents could make the statement that their children went to public school, yet in reality, BCC was as nice as its surrounding private schools. It was summer break from high school for most of us. Only those with bad grades or those who had skipped too many days had summer school.
Late Wednesday afternoon, I woke up just in time to drive over to Bethesda and meet up with everyone getting out of BCC summer school. The days were running out before I had to start working for Father again to pay off a new legal bill. I wanted to have as much fun as I could before I had to put the suit on again. I parked off campus so I wouldn’t have to deal with their security. Then I walked over to the smokers’ hangout, looking for Pete. Pete knew about every party, even if it was more than an hour’s drive away. I found him sitting at the top of some steps. Ben sat next to him. Where’s the party, Pete? was all one had to ask.
“There are G.D.S., Saint Albans’ and Field parties,” said Pete.
“Which are you going to?” This was always a stupid question, since I knew he would be going to all of them.
The night began at Pete’s house. His mother and sister were numb from his friends hanging around the house all the time. We hung out there for an hour, some drinking and some smoking weed on the back patio. When walking through the living room, one had to maneuver around a six-foot wide cement fountain that endlessly circulated water and was plugged into the wall. The room was sparse with the exception of a single chair in a corner and the fountain inconveniently placed in the center. It was time to go; everyone piled into cars and caravanned to the party. Depending on the night, whether it was a weekday or weekend, there would be three to ten cars in total. The directions were always wrong. If Pete dictated them over the phone, you had no chance of finding the party and that’s why everyone met at his house and followed him in their own car. No doubt Pete gave lousy directions to ensure his entourage would stick close to him. But there was always a party that he just heard a rumor about, for which he had no directions at all. He had a mystical ability to hone in and find the locations, even if it meant driving around in large circles for hours until we eventually made our arrival.
“Come on, Pete, let’s just go home,” I said.
“Just one more time around,” he said with exceptional ease, as if we had just begun driving. Pete’s information on the parties came from a number of sources.
“I overheard this girl at the supermarket talking about her parents going out of town,” was one among many.
His answering machine was full of them. If you were having a party, Pete would be the first person to call. Pete always showed up and was never alone.
“That’s it,” said Pete, pulling over without any warning for the cars close behind us. We parked in front and waited for the rest of our group to catch up. Walking in, we doubled the size of the party. We spread out through the house, passing through the kitchen to raid the refrigerator, then out to the backyard where the keg would be. Thinking back, it really wasn’t that much fun. It always took such a long time to find the party, and when we did, it was usually almost over. All the couples had already hooked up, and the girls who hadn’t hooked up yet, no one liked. But it was something to do and I didn’t want to stay at home. Once the beer was finished, Pete would take up a collection for more.
“Pete said he’d drink whatever is in the glass for fifty bucks,” Ben addressed the party. Bills were tossed into a pile. Pete counted them. The first count would never be enough. More money was raised. Ben poured a bit of mystery fluid from every half-emptied, abandoned cup he could find into his glass, throwing in some cigarette butts for texture. Ben spit into the glass just before handing it over to Pete, who then picked up a bottle of dish soap and added a squirt, as the crowd let out a collective groan. Without hesitation, Pete gulped it down.
“Come on. Let’s go to the party in Potomac. It’s going to be a rager,” Pete assured. The clock on the wall read 2 am.
“That party’s gonna be over,” I said, even though I knew he wasn’t listening to me, and I had no choice since I was riding with him. His other friends knew the drill and came in their own cars.
In Potomac, we arrived at a ranch-styled house that was set back among a few trees. Only stragglers were left. The girl having the party tried to discourage us from coming in, but she didn’t understand that Pete wouldn’t leave until he was satisfied. We pushed past her to the kegs of beer. One was tapped. Discarded plastic pint-sized cups littered the house and yard as the party neared its end. Pete picked up the cup nearest to him, dumped out what was left, and pumped out half beer, half foam.
“I stopped by BCC looking for you the other day, but you had left or something,” I said as I looked for my own empty cup. Finding one, I washed it out with the hose and wiped the rim with my T-shirt.
“They put me in his office,” Pete said.
“The principal’s office?”
“Yes, they just left me there. I missed too much school or something. Anyway, I was just sitting there looking out the window. It was a nice sunny day, so I climbed out, dropped to the grass and went home.” Pete spit chewing tobacco into a cup.
“Did you get in trouble?” I asked Pete.
“No. They didn’t bring it up, so I didn’t, either.” I thought about when I’d stabbed Tyler. It was sort of the same thing.

-Ethan H. Minsker

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lalo

I wake to find my open mouth stuck to that fucking couch.
The one Lalo’s grandmother gave to him.
I pull a piece of fabric from my lip and imagine all the
semen and regurgitated liquor that must inhabit this sinewy thread.
The atmospheric bleach that is the Los Angeles summer
is pouring through the window.
As I scan my surroundings, I realize Lalo is not in his usual place,
sitting cross-legged on the kitchen floor, doing his wake up shot,
which he boots four or five times,
then squirts Jackson Pollack style on a piece of canvas.
He most likely tipped off to the store for his favorite breakfast,
one can of Kern’s banana juice and two packs of Swirl Danish with nuts.

I head to the kitchen to rummage around for a cotton shot,
which in most addicted households wouldn’t get a fly high.
However, Lalo is a dealer. He’s my dealer,
and what he leaves for dead would overdose the average junkie rock star.
Much to my dismay, and like a strung out Mother Hubbert was here,
the kitchen is clean of any morsel of dope.
Even the spoons, which are normally encrusted with something,
are washed and in the rack.
What the fuck is going on here,
I think to myself, this place is normally a Petri dish of decay and filth.
Well, I have to find something or else I’ll be all fetal and shitting myself.

I walk to my car, hop in, and point it downtown.
Alverado Street, to be exact.
As I sit in the noon sun cramping up in traffic,
I wonder where the fuck he is.
He passed out in his wife beater and shark skin pants last night.
The uniform of choice among
the more Anglofied Mexican dope dealers in Hollywood.
He looks like David Bowie covered in Chicano.
If he wasn’t so strung out, he’d get more ass than a toilet seat.
He has a Cadillac, a ‘62 Coupe de Ville in mint condition,
and a ton of money, always.
He’d have a lot more if he didn’t have two hungry arms to feed,
one of which is mine. I’m worried, but I have to get straight.

As I leave Alverado Street with five balloons in my mouth,
I feel much better. In the church of my heart, the choir is on fire.
How convenient that street dealers in L.A. sell their goods in balloons.
Only once did I have to swallow them after copping,
and then dig them out of my own shit
to find them in perfect shape, ready to be injected.
Who says junkies don’t lead glamorous lives?

Not wanting to go through that ordeal again,
I head towards “Jack in the Box” off the 101.
“Jack in the Box” is a dope fiend’s
bathroom away from bathroom in the Los Angeles area.
One toilet, one sink, one customer at a time, and a locking door.
As I sit cross-legged on the floor, I get my kit out.
A kerchief, wrapped and folded, with one bottle cap,
one fresh piece of cotton, and one very beaten set of works.
So beaten that the numbers and lines can’t even be seen.
Suddenly there’s a knock, followed by a severe pulling of the door.
Not the ordinary customer we have here, I think as I get my shit together,
which wouldn’t have taken as long
if the tar I just shot wasn’t so fucking good.
Finally I compose myself and walk out,
right into the biggest, barrel-chested cop I’ve ever seen.
All yours officer, have a nice day.
I walk with a quickness to the door, trying not to look the way I feel.
As I get to the their, some fat women
is trying to push someone through in a wheelchair,
using one hand to push and the other to open.
I tell her to get back for Christ sakes,
and I’ll do it myself. But, before I can, I feel a dreadful tap on my shoulder.
I don’t even have to look. It was the man in blue,
and he was holding my kit,
my kerchief with all the evidence needed to lock my ass up.
He pushes the door open for the woman and then turns toward me.
Shit, here it comes. Sir, you left this in the men’s room. That was it.

As I high tail it in felonious creepers,
I reach my car, get in and turn over the engine.
My cassette player kicks in the Violent Femmes,
“this will go down on your permanent record.” Not this time, I think.
That cop must be straight out of the academy,
a man on a galloping horse could see I was fucking ripped.
As I leave the parking lot, I spot the woman
with the enormous fuselage and her wheeled companion.
I feel sorry for the man
being pushed and shoved everywhere by that behemoth.
He must be caught in her gravitational pull. I speed home.

I unlock the front door of Lalo’s apartment and head to the kitchen.
I grab a clean spoon, and realize it would be a shame
to shoot such good dope with such an old, barbed up set of works.
So I go next door, to the apartment of this chick who digs Lalo.
I tell her our toilet is busted and ask her if I could use hers.
Thanks, I’ll just be a second.

I open the medicine cabinet. I grab two new sets of insulin syringes,
and as I’m about to close the cabinet door,
I see a script just recently filled for valium. Well, don’t mind if I do.
I wonder if her shrink gave her these for her depression,
most likely brought on by Lalo’s dope dick
and his lack of interest in anything to do with sex.
Thank god for depressed diabetics,
I say under my breath as I leave.

I get back and dump all three balloons in the cooker, and I’m off.
The dream is always the same. Back on the bottom of my personal pond.
It’s warm and safe, and I watch life go by on the surface.
In my fifty dollar cocoon, my womb, my womb with a view.

Being dragged to the surface by a knock on the door.
I open it. I’m shocked to see Lalo’s sister, who I’ve only met once.
Before I can step back to let her in, and with tears falling on her shoes
she tells me Lalo’s dead.
I saw him just last night. I’m in shock.
I snap to like I just got a shot of Narcon in my heart.
She asks me to go down and identify him.
She stammers softly, he’s been beaten very badly.
Will you please do that for me?
I just look at her face for what seems like forever.
Yeah, I’ll go do it. Where do I have to be?

As I am escorted into the room the next day with my guts in a knot,
there he is on a table just like you see on Quincy or some show.
His head is covered, but his torso and right arm
are exposed. I can see his tattoo,
a Germs blue circle with a cheetah jumping through it.
Do you recognize this tattoo?

Yeah, but don’t you want me to look at his face for a positive identification?
Son, the man says to me, he’s been beaten to death with a hammer, a ball peen hammer over twenty or thirty times.
I look down at the cloth covering his head
and realize it shows no contour,
no height whatsoever.
It was perfectly flat.

-Richard Allen

Friday, October 23, 2009

From “Rich Boy Cries For Mama”

I was fifteen in 1985.

Who Stabbed T.R.?

After class, Pierre, Charlie, Tyler and I were hanging around in a room on the first floor. With no teachers around, Tyler pulled out a pair of nunchucks and started swinging them. Tyler’s hair was feathered with the bangs pulled forward. It looked bad, but I didn’t say anything.

Pierre and I had gone down to Chinatown, where I had bought a butterfly knife. A butterfly knife is a folding pocketknife with two handles. When closed, the blade is concealed within grooves in the handles. I had seen other kids playing with them and they could do tricks. With one hand you could flip out the blade or put it away. Chinatown in DC was the length of a block, with an ornate arch that crossed over the start of the street. The clerk in the store didn’t care how old I was when he sold me the knife. He didn’t even bother to look up at me. At home, I had been practicing flipping it open by holding the lock on the base. With a quick dip of the wrist, the handles opened, revealing the blade, and swung around to meet its other half. I flipped the blade out and into circles, spinning and spinning it, as if I were doing some demented yoyo trick.

Tyler was showing Pierre some moves with the nunchucks. Pierre was a natural athlete and quickly picked up anything physical. Tyler kicked me with a round house, but it didn’t look like the movies. His kicks had been like an old man, drunk on cheap wine. He had been taking Tae-kwon-do from a school called Woo’s. I flipped the knife open when Tyler kicked me. I blocked the kick, forgetting I had the knife in my hand. The knife plunged a few inches into his leg before I realized my mistake and pulled back my hand.


“Holy shit man, I’m sorry!” I said. We both looked at the spot where I had stabbed him. “It’s okay, it barely cut me”.

I looked at the blade and I could see a wet mark that went down the blade more than an inch and a half. “I don’t know. I think I cut you more than that. Why would you kick me when I’m holding a knife?”


“Well I didn’t think you would stab me with it!”

Pierre came to my house and Charlie went with Tyler. Charlie called a few hours later. “Hey, I’m at the hospital with Tyler. I guess you cut him pretty badly.”

“Are you serious?” I said. I pictured the cops showing up at my door, then my parents being told what I had done, then the school kicking me out. I felt flushed.


“When we got back to his house, there was just a drop of blood. I guess the doctor said that when his muscles relaxed, it made all kinds of blood come pouring out. I mean it was all over his sock and shoe, the floor. So we took him to the hospital.”


“Is he going to be okay?”


“Yeah. The doc asked him what had happened and, after Tyler told him the story. The doc says it’s good your friend doesn’t play with guns.”


I hung up the phone and didn’t feel much like hanging out with Pierre, so he went home.

I was still thinking about what was going to happen to me, what Mother was going to do when she found out I had stabbed someone. I barely slept that night. I walked to school instead of taking the bus. I was there an hour early and the first few kids had already heard about the stabbing, but weren’t sure who had been holding the knife.

Andrea walked up to me “Who stabbed T.R.?” She was giggling. “What are you in such a bad mood for? You’re acting like you did it.”


“Shut up and leave me alone.”

Tyler hadn’t made it to school. By lunch I had heard the “Who stabbed T.R.” line about twenty times. I was walking back to class when Mr. Rivera intercepted me and led me into a room with the principal, Miss Smith, and a few other people I had never seen before. Miss Smith was a large woman with light blond hair who sat at the end of the desk.


“Did you stab Tyler?” she asked matter-of-factly.
“Yes, but I didn’t mean to.”
“Were there any teachers around?”
“No.”
“Was it on school grounds?”
“Yes, the first floor.”
“During the school day or after?”
“After.”
“Okay, we just needed to know for insurance. You can go back to class.”


They didn’t even ask for the knife, and I didn’t hear a word about it from my parents. I doubt they ever found out. When Tyler came back to school, he said he didn’t care and wasn’t mad at me, but after I stabbed him it was rare that we hung out.

-Ethan Minsker