Sunday, January 17, 2021

Labyrinth Project Creators Journal - Richard Alan Scott (New Entry 01/17/21)



Author: Richard Alan Scott
Rhode Island, USA


01/17/21

The fourth story I wrote in my adult-serious-writer-persona was a deep dive into the man that put Horror on the map in the state I've lived my whole life: the honorable Howard Philips Lovecraft. I knew more than a smidge about the loco boy made good but not really a lot. I figured it was about time to find out what's a Cthulhu, where's Arkham and who is Herbert West? 

Although researching a short story, I didn't want to be the guy who lives in a state and doesn't know eldritch squat about its most famous inhabitant. Particularly since I was working in a bookstore in Lovecraft central, literally across the street from where he grew up. I took the History society's famous tour, saw Howie's haunts, read a whole bunch including his works, and even went to a library at Brown University where his archives are kept. 

I had decided that my favorite of his tales was "The Shadow Over Innsmouth." I've never been an ocean guy though I live in the Ocean State, Rhode Island. It's not just because, as Woody Allen wrote, "There are spiders at the beach." 

It's because I hate getting up at the ass-crack of dawn, loading a car to capacity, putting tepid cold-cut sandwiches on top of a cooler with ice, taking a blanket out of the cellar that has more mold than Bela Lugosi's cedar wardrobe, getting in a four hour traffic jam in 104 degrees, paying a nice dinner's price for parking, walking to a "good spot" in the crowd about three feet away from an obese fifty year old Italian woman's crotch as she yells at three weeble kids to "wait a half hour," lying down on said blanket to begin baking in a sticky coconut smelling haze while hearing "Alone Again, Naturally" from the radio blaring two feet on the other side of you, taking a quick dip in water the temperature of an Arctic glacier, getting thrown hither and yon by an undertow with the strength of Arnold in his early years, fighting algae and poisonous jellyfish, having your warm cold-cuts dive-bombed by a cacophonous group of sea buzzards, only to be killing time for an eternity until you are allowed to go home with salt and sand in every piece of clothing and orifice on your body, until you can finally take a cleansing and sanity-restoring shower and get into your nephew's bed which has more sand than the aforementioned beach at the foot in the sheets, only to feel the waves still tossing your body into the undercurrent and back again to shore. 

That may tell you that the beach is not for me. That's why I am so scared and grossed out by "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" and why I decided to just go whole-hog into a tale of a golden young couple's car breaking down in Lovecraft's seaside wreck of a town and there being little hope of their remaining unscathed. It may be one of my most brutal. 

"Assault at Innsmouth" was a piece that not only got picked up right away, but is actually about to go into its second printing. Tim Deal at Shroud Magazine, then a viable market as "A Journal of Dark fiction and Art" wrote me "I love it" and I got to share the pages with the likes of Ben Eads, Michael Knost, John Shirley, Brian Keene, Kevin Lucia, Willie Meikle and Maurice Broaddus. 

Oddly, and very unprofessionally, a man whose last name is Shanker, (like what you get on your genitals when you have syphilis), reviewed the magazine, one in which HE HIMSELF HAD A STORY.  There's a sort of pride in me that, after he heaped praise on all involved, he chose, (guess who, yes, me), to throw under the bus with the only negative review of the issue. Everyone in the industry I've ever met since all agree that it was a dick move. 

The great thing was that he provided me with a quote I've since used to promote the extreme tale, essentially saying 'I'm never one to knock the value of shock...but (Scott's work) crossed the line...' Thank you, sore-on-balls (Sauron balls?), for bringing many hardcore horror readers to me. Next time: white gloves in a shanty town and listening to Lovecraft. 

BELOW: The Fleur-De Lis building in Providence, RI, mentioned in HPL's "Call of Cthulhu."


Monday, January 4, 2021

Mardi Gras in the Age of Covid (UPDATED 01/17/21)

 

2020 Christmas

There are many things we miss that covid has taken away from us. Here in New Orleans, the loss of the upcoming Mardi Gras season is one of the hardest to have taken away. While there is hope for the future in the form of vaccines, they will not come soon enough to save Mardi Gras 2021.

For residence its not about the liquor or partying. Its about the beauty, the pageantry, and the history of the celebration. And yes the art. Some this year have taken the ingenious step of turning their homes into giant freestanding Mardi Gras floats. In some case (for those that can afford it at least), they have hired royal float builders who are suffering this year from not having the income that comes from building floats for the areas hundreds of parades. 

For those of us who can't hire float designers, but still want to play a part, we are taking the time to plan our own house floats. In fact I am sure that this may well become a yearly tradition in future years even after Mardi Gras is once again a yearly phenomenon. 

After some consideration Billy and I have decided to add our art and ingenuity to making this Mardi Gras season as unforgettable as we can. As a result we are going to create a 12 foot long by 8 foot high tableau in front of the house. 

Its taken some ingenuity to come up with an idea. But while we brainstorm the details we will begin to build the frame for our float in the coming days and weeks. 

Basically we are going to build a frame that attaches to the two pillars on the front of the house. The frame will only be 2 feet out from the house in order to allow plenty of room on the sidewalk. Hopefully the city will forgive if we encroach a little onto public property. 


After the frame is attached, we will then attach two styrofoam panels to frame. Styrofoam is the worlds greatest substance. It can be painted on like a canvas, cut into, melted, or added to. 


From their the skies the limits for designing a theme. I'll of course share step by step images as we create the thing. But I have no doubt it will be of epic proportions! 

Our time frame is to have the frame and panels installed by New Years day 2021. Twelfth Night begins the Mardi Gras season on January 5th and Fat Tuesday ends the celebration on February 16th. So we have only so much time to get our act together and get this built. 

Watch this page for updates. 


UPDATE: 12/26/20

Well here is an approximation of what the Mardi Gras Tableau will look like. A lot of details are subject to change, but at least I have a good grasp of the theme now. 

11 Days to Twelfth Night and tomorrow is the first warm day where I will be able to work outside. 


UPDATE 12/30/20

The past few days have seen the construction of a enormous 8' x 12' frame and the stryrofoam facing that will turn it into a working canvas for the project. So far so good but the wind is a bitch in getting the panels in place. Here are work in progress photos for it!





And here it is completed and ready to become art! 


UPDATE 12/30/20

Here is the wall lit up. I want it to be seen at night and I want to work on it at night. So it made sense to light it up now. It also keep kids from messing with it. 



UPDATE: 01/01/21

A wonderful first day of the new year out in the sun gridding the mural! A slow process but it will make things so much easier later. 


Finished! Approximately 8 hours to grid it out

5 days to Twelfth Night! 

UPDATE: 01/03/21

Today began the prep work for cutting and melting the styrofoam. Lines were cut using a heat pen that went over all the outlines of the bricks The first panel I used spray paint as a melting medium for the lines once they were cut. But I suspect that the company that produces the panels changed the formula and I found the spray paint wasn't working as well as in the past. So I switched to pure heat at 300 degrees to melt the line work properly. This is fast work. You can only let the heat gun gun graze the surface or it will melt a very large hole in the panel. The advantage of the using heat is that it tightens the panel up, making it tougher. I would have had to have gone over it with the heat gun anyway for that purpose.

After the heating of panel #1. I used the heat pen to cut out the center of panel #2 in order to create a hole in brick work. After that was complete I went back and cut the line work and heated panel #2. That leaves just panel #3 for tomorrow. After that I can begin some of the base painting. 

I also went to the store and bought two plastic lengths of pipe. The pipes will be attached to the point where each panel meets, thus causing more continuity and hiding any flaws that are showing between the panels. The pipes will be spray painted silver first and then attached. This will give the illusion of pipes stretching up the wall as is often seen on real brick walls. The pipes are 12 feet tall though, so I will use the extra 4 feet above the wall to attach Mardi Gras flags to later. Here is a look at the finished work for today. 

As a sidenote, I also bought a box yesterday to use as a post office parcel container. I put it up beneath the mailbox so packages can get put into it when delivered. 



UPDATE 01/04/21

Today began the painting of the walls that were cut and melted yesterday. I could only go partway into the second panel because I need to cut the lettering first that goes on it. 

The latex paint was a combination of two colors. There will be another coat that goes over it and gives the bricks an individual look. But its looking good so far.



UPDATE: 01/06/21

A lot of progress today. The wall is now completed base painted. The title of the piece has been etched into the center panel and the second pipe has been added to the right side. Its really coming along nicely. I got propositioned by someone driving by to create a Mardi Gras design on his truck. But I doubt I'd have time to do so. Here are photos of the progress! 




UPDATE: 01/24/21


Finally after a week of extremely low temps (rare in New Orleans), I was finally able to get outside and continue the mural. I prepped a lot of the pieces ahead of time inside, so that the moment I could get moving again, I'd be ready. 

As you can see their are a ton of new additions to the wall. Still won't be done for awhile, but at least it doesn't feel just a brick wall. I've had several people tell me that they thought I was finished already. So I am glad to get moving again.

The purple box on the left hand side is filled with doubloons. If someone feels around in it they'll get a treat but its high enough to keep people from looking into it. 





UPDATE: 01/15/21

Its really starting to fill out today. I added the comedy/tragedy faces, as well as the pennant flags and the gold fluer de lis to the top. I added the first of several slots where beads will be put for the taking. Since people can't get beads at parades this year, its only fitting to have some freebies on the wall. I added a few small masks. There will be more tomorrow. And I started painting a few of the bricks in Mardi Gras colors. I may keep this up throughout the whole season, adding a few more bricks each day that are painted purple, green and gold. 

I'm also considering placing an extender off of the top boards so that the lighting is set out a bit from the wall. This lets me have better control over how its lit and lets me add some other colors to the lighting. 

So far so good!



UPDATE: 01/17/21

I was very unhappy with my lighting so far. The way I had it set up the light shone down the wall and made pools of shadow on the edges. So I built an extender out from the front so that the lighting could be aimed better. Tomorrow I may get some colored bulbs to create some mood lighting also. 




Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Labyrinth Project Creators Journal - Diana Whiley (New Entry 12-22-20)



Author: Diana Whiley
Adelaide, South Australia

12/22/20

I’ve always been inspired by myths and legends and have decided to write my own versions of the ones I really love, ones filled with hope. 

My first legend focuses on Mongolia and my fascination with its people, the Steppes - wide sweep of charcoal soil and white capped hills. The wind and freedom where horses roam; are their life.

This tale is of the making of their instrument; of identity 

                        Legend of the Morin Khuur  

     Zel was riding the wave of star song when he heard another, softer yet compelling undercurrent. He moved toward it then stilled as a palpable yearning struck.

     It changed and shifted his perception. 

     The veil of time lifted dark space to reveal a world covered by blue. Mists of cloud drifted across it and called. He dived down to a land of charcoal, grey and white.
 
    Snow, vibrating crystal energy draped immense mountains and below them a vast plain filled with wind song flowing through manes and tails to caress muscles and galloping hooves.

    The pounding on earth opened his heart to an old yet new connection, one he’d thought lost. The longing surged and he flew down, russet wings a flame ignited above his sienna- gold body.  He landed and waited as his ancestors raced toward him. 

      They slowed when they had his scent. All of them, except a lone stallion veered off. It came within a hundred feet of Zel and reared a challenge. 

     Zel spread his wings and sent forth the breath of making. It wrapped around the stallion and held him firm. The stallion rolled its eyes then broke the contact suddenly and leapt forward, teeth going for Zel’s neck. 

     The action momentarily stunned Zel then he lifted straight up and away to hover above the stallion as it screamed its rage. 

      Stop, he commanded, but there was no reply, no link between them. 

     Shattered, Zel eyed the stallion for one long moment then swept up into the blue sky. 

    He flew above the plain searching. There were several herds and tried again for contact, this time with the mares. None responded. 

     By days end he was nearing despair when a flicker of light on a distance hillside caught his attention. He moved toward it, skimmed over strands of aspen to an open clearing.

     Three rounded structures emitting smoke stood to one side and next to them an enclosure holding a dozen ponies.  Penned, confined. 

    A mist of rage blurred his vision as he swooped down and landed. A short gasp followed and he whipped his head around to meet small, but intense dark eyes in a creature barely five feet tall. It spoke. “By the herd, how wonderful you are.” 
     
      Zel froze.  He understood the words. How could that be?

    You are not of the herd.  Who are you?

    “Sukhe,” he said and laughed. “You’re real.”

     What are you?

     “You don’t know?”   

     Zel snorted, wings rising.  Suhke added hastily. “I am son of Bogdo and our yurt is the biggest. My uncles occupy the other two.

”What are you?  Zel repeated

    ‘Oh…We are the Mountain people of Mongolia.’ 

    People - you breed? 

   Sukhe’s face flushed.  “I am thirteen – a boy still but I will know about that soon. If the Gods will it."

     Zel stared. There was such intense longing in those words. He was intrigued and delved deeper. Almost took a step back. The boy was blind. 

     Yet he’d seen him - the Wanderer God.  But… and he looked back at his kin penned and found rage again.

     “Please don’t be angry. We love our ponies,” Suhke said and the herd’s song suddenly burgeoned from within him so joyful and so strong with love - and as well, for him.  How could that be?  

   Another voice called out, “Suhke.”

   “My mother. I will have to go in but…,’ then said in a rush. “Can I touch your wings?”

      Are you worthy?

    “I want to be,” the words burst from him.

     Zel moved closer. The boy reached out and touched him - here finally his legacy.   

     The song vibrated between them and Zel showed him how to keep it going - with horse hair strung into a bow. Special wood carved with a horse’s head. A long neck and triangular body with strings. 

    Zel blew into his mouth and Suhke said. “A Morin Khurr.” 

   Yes. Yours. Your skill. The first.  Special as you are and will be to your people. 
  “And part of you. Will you come back?”
 
  I must wander but we are now forever linked  
  
      And a star shone in the blue sky. 

      Suhke saw it, saw Zel open his wings and fly toward it. Watched for a long time then turned to rejoin his family, his heart full of faith and promise.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Ghost Story (Chapter 13)

 How do you tell a story without words? How do you express the words without movement? Welcome to the first of a series of stories told completely through image. This is no simple image. This is an image that expands and changes at a moments notice. Its also a ghost story, and ghosts never stay in one place for long. What you see now may change in few moments or not at all. 

The story is told in your own mind. The story you tell yourself will not be the same as the story the next person sees and the story can and will change based on your interpretation of the images. Search the image carefully. There is much more going on here than meets the eye. 

So sit back and get ready to tell yourself a story....a ghost story.

(Please note that this image may stray off the borders of the page. Use the slider bars to see it all)




























Labyrinth Creators Journal - JM Rosenberry (Updated 12/04/20)


Author: JM Rosenberry
Fargo, North Dakota 


12/04/20

Addictions, 

.   What comes to mind when you think about addiction?   Drug abuse?  Drinking?   Those are two major vices for sure, but there are so many more addictions out there.  Phones, gaming, sex, shopping, the list goes on and on and on.  And now that so many people are stuck inside on quarantine it's easier than ever to fall prey to your own vices.  One of my major vices is music, live music and now that there are no concerts to go to everything has moved to virtual tours.  I can now see my favorite artist with the click of a button and at first I was against this type of show. 
  
 I can go to YouTube any time of the day or night and watch them for free but something about getting a ticket to a specific concert got me.  Paris one night and Chicago the next.  Youngblud started this trend with his shows that were tailored for certain cities and that was really cool. Then Motionless In White had a show close to Halloween that came with a physical comitative ticket.  Both shows were cheaper than what I would have paid to actually go to the show.  Although with MIW I ordered a sweatshirt so it was a little more. Some shows are doing virtual meet and greets via zoom and that's also pretty cool but out of my price range.  Next up for me is Black Veil Brides, always wanted to see them live and never had the chance so this is the next best thing.  

       Want to know what I love best about these shows?  What's the upside you ask?  I can sit in my pajamas and eat food while I watch it.   No being shoved around or getting beer spilled all over me.  No jerks to start fights with unless you want to count my six year old who wont stop bouncing off the walls, floor and furniture.  Downside is, not being able to hug them all.  I miss the excitement of meeting fans face to face and waiting for lights to go down.  I know we will get back to real venues soon and hopefully things wont have changed drastically from this shitty situation.

So part of me thinks I am too old for the music I love.  Everyone around me is twenty years or more younger than I. I grew up with eighty's metal.  Hair bands were the loves of my life in high school. I can't help but feel a little weird fangirling over a band or singer and being afraid to get called out on it.  It doesn't help that you suddenly are not allowed to sexualize anyone for any reason.  It's an insane concept for me since I grew up with bands like Poison, Motley Crue, Gun's N Roses, Skid Row and so many more. They lived for sex and hairspray and that was everything to me although I don't think some of todays bands have gotten the message.  They still dress amazingly and tease the crap out of us constantly.  Not to mention that it's so much easier for bands to connect with fans now that they have Istanagram and Twitter. 

Twenty or Thirty years ago you would never have been able to see the band celebrating in the Studio at the time of release.  You had to wait for media to pick it up or MTV to show you behind the scene's stuff.  You had to go to the store and physically get your copy of whatever magazine had them on the cover.  Now it's a constant barrage of buy my shit...errr merch.  And for a person with shopping addictions it's hard to not snap stuff up and be remorseful later on. I buy albums with no record player. I buy singed CD's just to have them.  Music is my life, it always has been and I guess I should feel lucky to not have more serious issues.  I have savings and I have money for food and expenses so why not treat myself sometimes and If you have read this far then I thank you for letting me ramble on so long.  

Music is important for the soul. It makes you feel less alone when your down and connects you with so many people.  If you find yourself in a creative rut then put on your favorite music and let it inspire you.  It has inspired me to write this blog and work on my other stories.  So I will leave you with something that might make you cringe or it might make you smile and I will warn you...probably not the thing you want to watch with your kids, or maybe you do and that's a whole other blog for another day.  

Always and forever, 

   JMR 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Challenge #8 - Name That Universe

 


Can you name this piece of art? The most creative, interesting and unusual name wins the prize! Challenge will be open until December 6, 2020. Multiple answers are allowed.

Answers will be accepted via this website at the bottom of this page, Facebook, Twitter or via email at: gcsartno@aol.com

Friday, November 27, 2020

Challenge #7 - Altered Art (CHALLENGE CLOSED)

 


This piece of famous renaissance art has been slightly altered from its original. Can you identify the three pieces of information shown above? A prize to the first person to solve the puzzle! 

Answers will be accepted via this website at the bottom of this page, Facebook, Twitter or via email at: gcsartno@aol.com

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Challenge #6 Who Am I? (CHALLENGE CLOSED)

 


Answers will be accepted via this website at the bottom of this page, Facebook, Twitter or via email at: gcsartno@aol.com


SOLUTIONS

1. Archduke Franz Ferdinand Carl Ludwig Joseph Maria of Austria

2. Sophie Maria Josephine Albina Gräfin Chotek von Chotkow und Wognin

3. They were assasinated. He was shot in the neck and she was shot in the abdomen

4. The July Crisis which lead to World War I

5. They had 4, one was stillborn

6. Franz Joseph Street in Sarajevo

7. Artstetten Castle, Austria