Thursday, February 2, 2017

Milo Yiannopoulos and the Rebirth of Transgressive Art

When everything is constrictive, when everything is controlled, there seems to be those of us who naturally feel the need to rebel against it. I am one of those. I grew up in a very controlling Christian home. Born Again Christians they’re called, others call them nondenominational Christians, and they do not tolerate dissent. You are to agree. There is one Lord above, and within, and around all of us. He comes in three forms, also known as the Trinity. The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. We are all sinners, and only through the glory and the grace of the Son, Jesus Christ, can we be washed clean from this sin and be welcomed into Heaven.

It was in that world that I fully came to appreciate the desire to rebel.

I have found no greater moment in life than the reaction of one you’ve so thoroughly shocked that their whole body gets into it. I became so enraptured by the life and work and times of one artist.

Charles Baudelaire, the greatest poet to ever write. With nothing but a pen and a printing press he was able to shatter turn of the century French culture. His work delved into vampirism, perversions, lesbianism, and Satan. His books were burned. Not by angry mobs, but the State.

He had revolted against society itself. He spit in the face of decadent France and became a legend.

I grew up idolizing this poet. He had, in his life, done what a great artist can only hope to do.. make society react. Make society question all of the assumptions accepted as fact.

As I grew I saw how far people had to go to offend others. The world changed fast. Before I was old enough to know it, you could draw Jesus Christ with your own shit and not a reaction would be had. It may be put up in frames, and the rich and the elegant may stop to examine it for a bit.. but to shock them? To shock society? To be the outcast artist breaking all of the rules of “decent folk”.. I thought the time had passed.

Last night it came to me.. it hadn’t.

I watched as Milo Yiannopoulos was chased from Berkley campus, known for so long as a haven of free speech, for his work. He had crossed the line. Riots ensued. Fires burned. The globe had shifted, or better yet the poles of the US, and to speak of the past as a better time.. to be regressive.. was now transgressive. This gay Jewish man had shocked the world. With just his art he challenged all that was acceptable in our modern era. He challenged all that was acceptable in decadent turn of the century America. In one moment he had finally done something that I had only read about. Baudelaire. Wilmot. A few select people. He had done something so large that the head of a state was forced to respond.

I didn’t think I’d see that in my life time.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Occult and Anarchy

I am an occultist, I am an anarchist, never would the two collide or so I thought. Suddenly a Florida senate candidate comes along and changes everything.

His name is Augustus Sol Invictus.

Christopher Cantwell. Let's start there. He is one of the most principled anarcho-capitalists I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. There is Lew Rockwell, there is Tom Woods, there is Christopher Cantwell.

Christopher Cantwell is an atheist, he is an anarchist, and as he has admitted in the past part of the fun of being an anarchist is that you are always on the outside. You're the rebel. It's part of what I love about it. You are the rebel. The outlaw. The outsider. People don't fucking like it. Cantwell? He not only walks that line but he crosses it all of the time. I love it.

I love it.

I met Cantwell while visiting New Hampshire under the guise of possibly, still, of moving there. Anarchist revolution? Secession? Come on. Is there something more exciting than watching the fires of the revolution burn? And here is Cantwell in his studio. I, my brother as well, sitting next to the loudest mouth of the revolution. Drinking. Talking. Those of you who know me know my deer story, well I got to tell Cantwell that story (and Cantwell did not laugh. Did I shock him? Was he horrified? I don't know. I never did follow up. However, it was one of the highlights of my gin soaked life).

In that moment I told Cantwell, I'd go down on that mother fucking ship and I mean that. I mean that.

So some time goes by, Cantwell starts a listener group, and here comes this man. Let's call him Invictus from now on. I have to be honest, I checked him out because he has my favorite bands name in his name. Is that a coincidence? Or is he a fan? I don't know. Hopefully at some point I'll find out.

So he pops up. There is a discussion. Suddenly here it is.

Now Invictus is an occultist. He is a Thelemite. Yes, a follower of Crowleys work. I am not a fan, and it isn't just because of the cake story (Next time I see Cantwell I'll tell him the cake story, maybe I'll get a laugh out of him). However I knew in that moment that my two worlds would collide.

Anarchy. Occultism.

I want to touch on this because it is important. People have been discussing it. Occultists, can they be anarchists? There is a lot of stigma around it. So here I am, answering the questions that are floating around the anarchist community on the subject of the occult and how it connects to the anarchist community.

I have had a lot of breaks with some of the more famous occultists, including one that has been published multiple times including by one of the most esteemed publishing outfits, Scarlet Imprint. I actually told Cantwell about this. I have lost friendships, and hindered my chances of ever being published within the occult stratosphere. I accepted it. Why?

The occult is about searching for hidden knowledge. The truth. People sometimes take the whole Wicca bullshit and imagine we are a bunch of feminist tree worshipers. We are not. In ancient Greece, in ancient Rome, and in the earliest parts of ancient Christianity (search the Hidden Book of Mark if you want more on this) there were colleges of thought called Mystery Cults. What they taught me, and what they are really based around, is the idea that you cannot just tell people things. If you tell someone something, no matter how profound, they will take it as if you are throwing pearls at a pig (Christians, you know what I'm referencing). The idea of the Mystery Cults is that understanding comes from experience. Which is one of the most poignant and powerful thoughts to ever come into my mind. It is the truth. You cannot just tell people things. You cannot just tell them: gun laws actually cause more crime. No one is going to take that. You need to break through the barriers of belief by allowing them to come to that conclusion themselves.

Crowley, yes back to the Thelemite we began with Invictus, is about finding truth and freedom through breaking your barriers. Breaking down all of what you think you know about yourself and the world through very libertine and spiritual acts. I walked that walk. I broke through those barriers. I came from a very Christian, evangelist family. Having come from that I can tell you that no matter how many facts you throw at a person of belief you cannot break it. You cannot banish the fear of hell from a person by explaining evolution. You cannot break the belief in the state by listing statistics. Beliefs are made through a far more carnal and primitive part of our brain. That is what the occult reaches.

When Invictus says that he is a Thelemite I had the instantaneous thought: this is so natural. You cannot experience the deepest recesses of your existence without grasping for freedom. You cannot dive into the pool and find it shallow. You need depth. You need freedom to swim deeper. Being a Thelemite and being a libertarian are only natural extensions of ones person. So, while Invicitus is an occultist, do not judge him on that. It is not a hindrance or a burden. He found his way from the confines of the state and from religion through the deeper parts of his mind. He freed himself, much as I did, from the brainwashing of the State, and from Christianity.

If you are an anarchist you understand this very fact, that the belief in the state is a religion. To break yourself from that fear, from that belief, may have come easy to you. However, some of us had to find it. And if the occult helped him find his way out who are you to judge him?

Cantwell has announced that Invictus will be a guest on his show. I for one am excited about this. My two worlds will collide. I can only hope that it makes a shower of light as it has in my life.

You should check out Christopher Cantwells work.
You should check out the Hitchens vs Sharpton debate.
And check out Sol Invictus.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Project #9

"You let me think I'm just your fan here in the GLORY of electric Leyba land.."

- Hannah Haddix

I’ve been a fan of Steven Johnson Leyba for a while now. He is an occultist, a painter.. when it comes down to it he creates. He creates beauty in almost every way, in everything that he touches. His art is a manifestation of freedom on a personal level, the breaking down of the boundaries that society puts upon us through school, church, peer pressure. Laws? Society? Fuck that, give me revolution! He creates that.

Leyba is an occultist in the most ancient sense of the word. He doesn't play one on Saturday nights, he lives it. It isn't dress up. It isn't in a study or around a fireplace. It is real. He is also prolific in the most amazing way. You could spend days just watching video of his work. It wouldn't be a waste of time.

One of my favorite parts of his vast library of creations is his books. Hand made, one of a kind, magical offspring.

Recently, through mere luck, I came across one of his companions in creation. One occultist joining with another to bring anarchy into the world. Anarchy through collaboration .

They create music.

No. They create sound.

More than that, they push uprising into the airwaves.

Project #9

When it first came passing through my brain the sensations were overwhelming. I couldn't believe that I had somehow overlooked music that Leyba was part of. I didn't know what to expect. Leyba creating? He joined his words with the music crafted by the wonderful Marly Preston. They created magic in audio form.

It is ritual. It is chaos. It is chaos over ambiance. And it made sense, instantly.

If that is the point, to take the societal structure and smash it against the earth, it does it perfectly. Your mind is drawn into a soft ambivalence by the music, but the message? Powerful statements shattering the ambivalent mind with expression. There is no rest here. There is no peace. There is change. There is always change.

When you dive into this music for the first time don't do it passively. Don't put it on in the background and daze out while surfing the web. Find a quiet place. Turn off all of the lights. Prepare yourself. If you don't the sound will eventually demand it of you.

You can purchase their music here, and help support some amazing artists: Project #9

You can also check out their newest song here: Security is Rape

Friday, November 21, 2014

Only Lovers Left Alive

Love. Time.

That is the easiest way to sum up this film. Two words. There need be no spoiler alerts because there is nothing to spoil. If you go into this film expecting some grand narrative you will be disappointed. This isn't a film in the general sense of the word, at least what we've come to expect of one. I am not saying there is no story. There is.

Though it would almost be easier to refer to this film as a painting. Each scene, each small detail, each fleeting conversation another brush stroke against the canvas.

It is the story of three vampires. Two vampires in love. A third, the sister of one of the lovers. The story is small. It is ridiculously small. It is such a small part of the film that you could spend the first half wondering if there will be a story at all.

That is the mastery of Jim Jarmusch, who both wrote and directed this film. As with his other films, whether you are thinking of Broken Flowers or Dead Man, if you wait around for the narrative you miss the beauty in the small details and the sweeping idea that is used as the backdrop to the whole film. The story of the film is not the story that is taking place between the characters, it is a grander theme.

It is hard to imagine what it would be like to live forever. Many people dream of it, the idea that we would never part from this bodily existence. We dream of all of the things we would do if we had the time. What he paints in this film is what the idea of living forever would really mean. Using the myth of the vampire he plays with the concept of eternal life, of the slow and grinding passage of time. How would the small things change if there was no passage of time, if you could grasp onto things for centuries at a time? How would your thoughts change? How would you look at the world?

What would become of love?

It takes place in two, what seem, very different locales. One is Tangier. Tangier was once known as a place where you could do whatever you wanted as long as you weren't committing violence. This was for the fact that the country that ruled over Tangier, Morocco, did not have the resources to police peoples lives. It is where so many poets and artists flocked. William Burroughs most famously.

The second place was Detroit. If the significance is not instantly apparent, it is because Detroit has come to the same destination as Tangier once was. The government of Detroit does not have the power or the resources to police and enforce the rules of law upon the residents.

These two places make the perfect canvas for this film.

There is no time spent on special effects. There are no useless scenes created to explain vampires to the viewer. When you go into this film it is expected you understand what a vampire is. Though the film has a very droning passage of time not a moment of the film is wasted on filler.

As I have stated, this film is about love and time. Like time, love is painted on the canvas without the edition of explaining what love is. Of all the films I have imbibed, not one has drawn out the beauty of love with more care or as delicately. There is no gratuitous sex scenes to show passion, there is no excessive explanations of love to explain love to the viewer. Like the idea of vampires, the idea of love is expected.

They paint love as they paint time. In the most excruciatingly haunting way.

The soundtrack takes much the same direction. It is sparse, beautiful, and comes with moments of chaotic sound that is used, much as everything is in this film, as a brush to further layer the beauty laid out so carefully.

If I recommended films, I would recommend this. More than any other film. It is film, film as an art form.

"I can barely conceive of a type of beauty in which there is no melancholy." 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Women of the Wild: the Work of Rik Garrett

"Earth Magic" was my way of investigating this way of historically making women the "other,"

Rik Garrett

When I first heard about Earth Magic, I was skeptical. A book combining photography and the talismanic world of witchcraft didn't seem like the most comfortable mix. I envisioned women in witch hats posed in a ridiculous fashion. How could witchcraft be captured in all of its raw beauty with the snap of the lens? We live in a world where the ways of our past are increasingly sold as nothing more than brief explosions of pop culture. I grew up believing that witchcraft was sacred, therefore I am always wary when books like this cross my path.

Yet something gave me hope, and that was Fulgur. If Fulgur had taken the decision to publish Rik Garret’s Earth Magic, then surely there was more to it than my preconceived notions. The independent publishing house of Fulgur doesn’t often back artists working and exhibiting in the US. I figured that maybe this was my chance to be pleasantly surprised. With that in mind I packed my things and drove down to New York to attend a signing in a small bookshop in Brooklyn in which Garret was scheduled to speak.

I walked into Catland having never laid my eyes on a piece of his work. As I sat in the dark and crowded room, all that lay on the screen before me was the cover of his book.

Enter Rik Garrett.

Garrett doesn't fit in with the stereotypes that one associates with a self-proclaimed witch. There was no long hair, nor an abundance of finger jewelry. He exuded charm as he spoke about the historical context of witchcraft. As the slides changed he explained some of his own personal magical working, his ideas seemingly matching well with a lot of my own thoughts. There were no buzz words, there was no spouting off orders that he was a part of. It was natural. His talk flowed with life. It was about will. I was intrigued yet still hesitant. I was yet to see his work.

Then the slide changed and the first image of his work came through.

I was stricken.

His work makes you feel like a voyeur sneaking glimpses into a world that isn't for human eyes. You feel like an intruder peeking into something that is beyond time, magic appears to be taking place right in front of you. If I could go back in time I would have researched his work beforehand so that I wasn't taken away so dramatically. It would have made it easier for me to focus on his talk. Upon glimpsing his work I was uncontrollably pulled from where I was and into the sacred and haunting place of the wild women.

The next day I made my way over to an exhibit that was featuring his collection at the Stephen Romano Gallery. Four different exhibits were showing, all inspired by witchcraft. I made my way to Garretts exhibit. Walking in was like stepping into the private inner sanctum of those wild women. In contrast to the previous evening, the exhibit took place in a bright and airy location. On the floor there was a painted circle. The walls held perfectly placed sigils. There were no distractions as we gazed upon original pieces of his art. The room was mixture of witchcraft and clean western mysticism.

There again, were the images from Earth Magic that had so enraptured me. Once again I was taken away, transported beyond myself into a world so completely perfect.


Rik Garretts work can be viewed at the Stephen Romano Gallery at 111 Front Street in Brooklyn, NY through November 30th
You can follow him through his site:
And follow his documentation of Chicago's Occult History at Occult Chicago

I would highly recommend you pick up a copy of his new book Earth Magic

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sweet As Death: Allie Hartley's Visions

"Wonder had gone away, and he had forgotten that all life is only a set of pictures in the brain, among which there is no difference betwixt those born of real things and those born of inward dreamings, and no cause to value the one above the other."

- HP Lovcraft (from the Silver Key)

Within the realm of occultic creations there are a few artists that stand out. They create images that pull from the deepest parts of our psyches. When you see the images they weave you know them, and you feel yourself take in the beauty from someplace deeper inside than just an onlooker. You are not merely a bystander, you are transported to another dimension, another place. Somewhere darker and more, in the most meaningful manifestation of that word, than your daily life often provides.

Amid this there is an artist, if artist ever had more meaning, and her name is Allie Hartley.

With the simplest of utensils she forces creation from someplace far away, yet so close to where and who we are. Her work is patterned after the ideas and visions of our world. A shaded version of our world. Where magic and mystery still dance. Where behind every shadow there is something that lurks, something that is hiding and waiting for you to look away.

Walk around that corner, down that alley way, along and beneath the aging architecture of the city, you will find the men and women, or better yet the ladies and gentlemen, of the night and the monsters that populate the world. Those very monsters who walk among us, breathing heavily, working ritual, bringing forth wonders and death all around us. And if you open that doorway that you find down that empty alley you'll walk right into the strangest of happenings.

Whether it is the workings of some ancient Egyptian cult, skrying down the angels from the sky, or speaking with beings from another planet, you will find what it is you have been so scared to look at, so fearful that you would find. That very moment that will haunt you as long as you live here on this plane. There is no place she is unwilling to go, no taboo part of history that she is not willing to pull from the pages of ancient texts and lather with the spew of some Lovecraftian monster.

You can further explore her work on Deviant Art and help support and further her work through Etsy 

She has had showings across the US, from Rochester, NY to Los Angeles, CA

( Chill of the Evening, The Seventh Star, and Escape is a Hoax have been provided by Allie Hartley for this article.)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Genesis P-Orridge and the Bight of the Twin..

"This was when it swapped from being a documentary about voodoo to becoming actually voodoo.. and that's when it changed me forever."

Where do you start when you're writing about Genesis P-Orridge? I almost feel out of my depths.

Genesis P-Orridge.

Before we go into that we should start from the beginning.

I was going through Indiegogo, searching through the different creative processes that were being put forth in front of the masses of the internet looking for some help. Someone to look upon their creation and offer assistance. And there amid the rabble sat a link to something that, if no other word could describe it, was perfect.


Voodoo. That's what Americans call it. The descendant of the African indigenous religions. It spread throughout South America, Latin America, and in the southern parts of the US. It took on many different names. Voodoo was the United States version of the fetish workings of Africa that mixed with the European Judaism based faiths. It still holds a certain amount of terror in the minds of the Westernized American people. Visions of dolls with needles, bonfires late at night with people dancing uncontrollably. The Crucible. Corrupting the young innocent white women of the States.

You can invoke those images and ideas from your memories if you went to any public school in the States. For those that watch certain channels on cable they'll get the distinct belief that voodoo, for the lack of a more precise word, is the workings of the Devil of the Bible. Falling to the possession of spirits. Working evil deeds upon others. Devils and spirits and Halloween.

In a world where everything is a click away the mysteries of voodoo, especially the base beliefs of the fetish acts of Africa, are almost unknowable.

Some film makers went over to Africa to do a documentary on voodoo. People went over to the heart of it and looked for the beauty.

They found it.

So much so that the film maker stopped making just a film. The film maker recorded a transformation.

The person at the heart of this transformation?

We're back at the beginning. Genesis P-Orridge.

I could list the accomplishments. I could give you samples of music. I could go on praising all that Genesis P-Orridge has done. I've almost tempted you with that idea from the start. And believe me...

I could.

However I've found, as I've found with most mysteries and magic, that it takes experiencing to understand.

I will instead implore you to dig deep. To find Genesis P-Orridge. To experience the work and the creation.

My first article was on the book Generation Hex. Eventually, after a few steps, Disinformation picked it up and added an audio link from the book release. There was Jason Louv, speaking on the release of his creation and his phone rang. It was Genesis P-Orridge. S/he has been there through all of the ups and downs of the creation of this modern magical movement. Here, creating something that is so haunting and so touching and in need of help to see it to a realization.

I ask that if you don't know the work and the touch to look, to experience, to find it and let it change you..

And upon feeling that change, come help with this. Maybe I'll get to see you in NYC for the premier:

Bight of the Twin