Samuel Jackson AND Werner Herzog Narrate “Go the F**k to Sleep”

This summer’s surprise feelgood literary hit for exhausted parents has now been narrated by Samuel Fuckin’ Jackson (you can download it for free from Audible right now). And, if that’s not enough for ya, word has it Werner Fuckin’ Herzog is going recording an official rendition as well. EPIC WIN.

Click here to listen to the official Jackson narration. Below, a very recent live recording of Herzog:

Jodorowsky’s Dune Finally Revealed?


Some of Moebius’ concept sketches for Jodorowsky’s Dune

For decades it has remained one of sci-fi cinema’s greatest might-have-beens. In 1975, during that magical time when studio heads willingly gave nigh-unlimited piles of cash to visionary directors, Alejandro Jodorowsky signed on to film Frank Herbert’s Dune, with a who’s who crew of alt culture royalty then-famous (Salvador Dali, Mick Jagger, Orson Welles) and up-and-coming (H.R. Giger, Dan O’Bannon, Moebius).


H.R. Giger concept design for Dune

The effort collapsed in pre-production amid bizarre rumors, massive budget overruns and plenty of mutual blame. Jodorowsky remained silent on the matter for years, and later penned a revealing account that told his side, but left a lot unsaid. The complete story of this tantalizing effort has remained a mystery, with the only the occasional glimpse to fuel our imaginations. That will soon change.

Now a new documentary by Frank Pavitch aims to finally reveal what really happened with Jodorowsky’s attempt to bring to life a work he believed divinely bestowed on humanity via Herbert.

Over at Blastr, they’re ecstatic, and with some cause (though Jodorowsky’s Dune, if made, could have ended up a fiasco as easily as a masterpiece). The glimpses that have for years sent Dune fans minds spinning are just the tip of the iceberg, and I can’t wait to see what else Pavitch has managed to uncover. The fact he’s wrangled interviews with many of the key participants is encouraging. We may finally know the full tale of this brilliant, doomed effort to fit galactic transcendence onto a movie screen. In the meantime, there’s always the activity books.

[via Brandon Shiflett]

A Whimsical, Alarming Resonance: Sandra Kasturi

In Sandra Kasturi’s first full length poetry collection, The Animal Bridegroom, one finds all manner of fantastical creatures –shapeshifters, changelings goddesses, and monsters– juxtaposed with the quotidian and the mundane.  Myth intersects with reality, resulting in outlandish dream worlds, unexpected bedtime stories, and everyday affairs elevated to the exotic and the surreal.

In his introduction to the collection, Neil Gaiman writes:

“…People forget the joy of story as they grow older.  They forget the joy of poetry, of finding the perfect word, of turning a phrase, like a potter turning a pot on a wheel, and they believe mistakenly that poetry is not pleasure, but work , or worse, something good for you but unpleasant tasting, like cod-liver oil.

Sandra Kasturi has not forgotten any of these things.”

Sandra has three poetry chapbooks published, as well as the well-received SF poetry anthology, The Stars As Seen from this Particular Angle of Night, which she edited. Her poetry has appeared in various magazines and anthologies, and her cultural essay, “Divine Secrets of the Yaga Sisterhood” appeared in the anthology Girls Who Bite Back: Witches, Slayers, Mutants and Freaks. Sandra is a founding member of the Algonquin Square Table poetry workshop and runs her own imprint, Kelp Queen Press.  She has also received several Toronto Arts Council grants, and a Bram Stoker Award for her editorial work at ChiZine: Treatments of Light and Shade in Words.  As an evolution of  ChiZine, ChiZine Publications (CZP) “emerged on the Canadian publishing” scene in 2009. To quote from their philosophy:

“CZP doesn’t want what’s hot now or stuff that’s so weird it’s entirely out in la-la-land—we want the next step forward. Horror that isn’t just gross or going for a cheap scare, but fundamentally disturbing, instilling a sense of true dread. Fantasy that doesn’t need elves or spells or wizards to create a world far removed or different than ours. Just a slight skewing of our world, handled properly, is far more effective at creating that otherworldly sense for which we strive.”

Sandra generously gave of her time  to talk with us about the slightly skewed otherworld she inhabits; very see below the cut for our recent Q&A.

The Feasts of Tre-Mang

Author and gourmand Eli Brown is writing the first-ever ethnic cookbook of Tre-Mang, a small Atlantic island you’ve definitely never heard of.

Around the turn of the 20th century, the islanders of Tre-Mang celebrated a complex and lively heritage, and prepared some truly mouthwatering traditional cuisine: moist cakes, savory side dishes and breads, frothy pâtés, fresh compotes, hearty chowder pies, and much more. Tre-Mang’s people and dishes also happen to be figments of Eli Brown’s imagination. The Alameda, California-based storyteller readily admits that his entire manuscript is an elaborate, loving fabrication.

Fruitless attempts to sell his “real recipes from an imagined island” to timid publishers have prompted Brown to create a Kickstarter campaign. He is going to produce and print his cookbook on his own:

After several prominent publishing houses told me that my latest work was “too lovely and literary to make it in this market” and “exciting and unlike anything we’ve seen. We’d take it if we knew how to market it” and etcetera, I’ve been forced to reconsider my place in the writing world. It would be one thing if I had been rejected because the work needed improvement. But to be told I was writing as well as I could, but that the industry had no place for my particular works, well, that was a shock. It’s a strange conundrum: Editors love my writing—marketing departments reject it on sight.

We all know that the literary industry is sinking, or, as my younger brother so succinctly puts it, “has auto-cannibalized itself.” And so we are left running about trying to catch crumbs from an ever shrinking pie. (This is why we don’t mix metaphors; a sinking, auto-cannibalistic pie should be avoided at all costs.)

I am not willing to surrender. I believe that if editors love my work, readers will, too. And so I’m turning to the grass roots. […] I’m starting a Kickstarter campaign! I’m combining my love of fiction with my love of cooking. The result is an ethnic cookbook based on the cuisine of a culture that doesn’t exist.

The Feasts of Tre-Mang is a most delightful and nourishing premise from yet another internet crowd-sourcing pioneer. Check out this interview with Brown for more background information, and click here to support his Kickstarter drive in its final days for as little as one dollar. (Or as much as $550… and be crowned an Honorary Governor of Tre-mang!)

Pamatala Jad-zum: Storm Chowder Pie.

The Unyielding Mystery of Catalog No. 439

EDITOR’S NOTE: Yet another wonderful post from our longtime contributor, Jeffrey Wengrofsky! This past year, he’s been keeping busy with all manner of projects, and this Sunday, April 3, his Syndicate of Human Image Traffickers will be screening “The Gospel According to Reverend Billy” as part of the Prison is an Angry Father fundraiser at Goodbye Blue Monday (1087 Broadway, Bushwick, New York). It’s a benefit for a prisoner’s rights project created by the Sanctuary of Hope. The event will include live performances of an almost musical variety, as well as the screening of several more short films in addition the Syndicate’s. Doors open at 8pm. Showtime for “The Gospel According to Reverend Billy” is 10pm. This event is free of charge.

Last year I spent my summer vacation working on a feature film in Detroit.  While creeping around the city, I could not help but notice its mountainous Masonic Temple – the largest in the world – whose muscular shoulders rise above its environs as if Charlton Heston’s urban fortress in Omega Man were carved into Yosemite’s El Capitan.  I was even able to arrange a private tour of the windowless monolith by its hospitable and wily Grand Master, including many meeting rooms and a majestic 4,004 seat auditorium (numerologists take note), all of it a visual feast for anyone with a taste for dramatic architecture, grotesque beauty, or even cryptography for that matter.  While in the lobby, our guide offhandedly revealed three levels of meaning behind a seemingly random painting, and the stately oddities awaiting us in floors above and below nearly exploded with symbolic resonance.  Unfortunately, the photographer I brought with me was so spooked by the whole experience that he ran screaming into the long night, ever since unreachable by phone or email.

And who can blame him? The uninitiated public can never comfortably claim to understand the true raison d’etre and inner machinations of secret societies because any scholar or spokesperson or self-declared defector may actually be a shill for the organization, planting seeds of misinformation and spreading misleading rumors.  Even joining such a society does not entitle one to understanding the ways of its upper circles.  Circles within circles, dear reader.  Are you getting sleepy?  The cinematic accoutrements – vaulted iron doors, masks, handshakes and cloaks – provide the perfect canvas for our fears of the unknown and desires for hidden order beneath evident chaos, conjuring a veil behind which we may never knowingly trespass.   Consequently, it can never be definitely settled as to whether any or all such societies are actually: cults of mystical inquiry; wholesome gatherings of those serving laudable Enlightenment values of science and public service; the core of a dastardly “power elite”; congresses of people who enjoy rituals involving aprons (not that there’s anything wrong with that); or some combination thereof.

Last year, Fantagraphics reproduced Catalog No. 439 of the DeMoulin Brothers– the most extensive depiction of initiation contraptions and ritual outfits used by Freemasons and other fraternal orders, like the Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias, and E. Clampus Vitus. Bearing the title Burlesque Paraphernalia and Side Degree Specialties and Costumes, this wacky book may shed a shred of light into the outer sanctum of these associations – unless, of course, it is actually a hoax disseminated to lead us astray.  Bracketing but never disregarding this notion, the readership of Coilhouse may discover certain Truths regarding these quasi-mystical clubs from perusing its glossy pages.  Even if Enlightenment should, as always, prove ever elusive, the illustrated designs of Edmund DeMoulin and the handiwork of his brothers Ulysses and Erastus, as reproduced in Burlesque Paraphernalia, will still deliver amusing, if sadistic, anthropology.

Book Printing Circa 1947

Encyclopedia Britannica Films presents this fascinating look into the arduous and protracted task of printing a book in 1947, at least when compared to the process as it is today. Also interesting to note the nigh complete lack of workplace safety guidelines, allowing a man to cut copper plates on a table saw without the need for cumbersome safety goggles.

Via Core77

In Remembrance: Kenneth Grant (1924-2011)

Artist and researcher M.S. leDespencer has kindly written the following obituary in honor of Kenneth Grant. The more esoterically inclined readers of Coilhouse will immediately recognize that name. Those who are unfamiliar –but curious– may wish to click the many hyperlinks attached below and begin to explore Grant’s strange and beautiful work. Condolences to Grant’s widow, Steffi, their family, and friends. ~Mer


Portrait of Kenneth Grant by Austin Osman Spare

“So life takes fire from death and runs. Whirling amidst the suns.”
~A. Crowley
Liber Pyramidos

It was announced today that occultist, author, artist, and gentleman Kenneth Grant passed away after an illness on January 15, 2011. He was 86 years old.

Grant, long a compelling figure in the world of occultism, has a legacy that extends back over half a century. He was the last man alive to have close ties to Aleister Crowley, having served as personal secretary to “The Beast”, and having been initiated into the Ordo Templi Orientis and Argentum Astrum by Crowley himself. After Crowley’s death, Grant and his wife Steffi were among the few attendees at Crowley’s funeral service. Subsequently, Grant became well known for helping to keep Crowley’s concepts and philosophies alive in the troubled decades following his death, and for the further continuation and expansion of Thelemic ideas over six decades.

Kenneth Grant’s occultism was not the fervent, dry adherence of the ideologue. Rather, he fashioned a deeply personal, fantastical, dynamic, and intricate system of magic woven together from syncretic elements of Tantra, Voudon, Gnosticism, Surrealism, fiction and a variety of other exotic threads. Building on the foundations of Crowley’s work, Grant expanded the current understanding of the meaning and implications of the “Law ofThelema”. Much like the mystic William Blake, Grant forged his own path beyond esoteric speculation, writing first-hand accounts of what he perceived to exist outside of the range of mundane experience.

Over the course of sixty years, Grant cataloged his evolving exploration of Crowley’s system of Magick and philosophy across a series of nine books that came to be known as the Typhonian Trilogies. Grant had stated that he wanted the act of reading these books to be an esoteric experience in and of itself. Certainly, the trilogies contain a maelstrom of esoteric ideas, dream imagery, and highly technical esotericism that, for the receptive reader, can border on a consciousness-altering experience. In addition to these seminal works, Grant wrote a variety of articles, fiction, and poetry, all of which are being made available via his official publisher, Starfire.


Portrait of Steffi and Kenneth Grant by Austin Osman Spare

Grant is also responsible for the enduring legend of the occultist and artist Austin Osman Spare, who had a profound influence on both his and Steffi’s art and world view. As Spare’s executor, Grant helped to catalog and publish Spare’s paintings, drawings, and writings, securing his friend’s art the long-term influence and respect it wields today. Were it not for the Grant’s loyal championing, the world would most likely lack knowledge of the rich, haunting body of work that Spare left behind.

Mr. Grant is survived by his aforementioned wife, the artist Steffi Grant –who has been an integral presence in Grant’s work since the beginning– and their family. His work continues via the Typhonian Order and individual explorers the world over. Through whatever strange spheres or iridescent geometric shapes he may choose as his vehicle among the scintillating transplutonian stars, may his journey continue!

All Tomorrows: “Fear is the mind-killer”

After a brief hiatus, David Forbes’ All Tomorrows column, your informal classroom on the glories of sci-fi’s Deviant Age, returns to Coilhouse. Welcome back, David!

Paul took a deep breath to still his trembling. “If I call out there’ll be servants on you in seconds and you’ll die.”

“Servants will not pass your mother who stands guard outside that door. Depend on it. Your mother survived this test. Now it’s your turn. Be honored. We seldom administer this to men-children.”

Curiosity reduced Paul’s fear to a manageable level. He heard truth in the old woman’s voice, no denying it. If his mother stood guard outside… if this were truly a test… And whatever it was, he knew himself caught in it, trapped by that hand at his neck: the gom jabbar. He recalled the response from the Litany against Fear as his mother had taught him out of the Bene Gesserit rite.

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

Chilton published car manuals. So it must have come as some surprise, 45 years ago, when, out of nowhere, they released a lengthy, phenomenally strange science fiction novel by a nearly unknown journalist. The man’s agent wasn’t even enthusiastic about the manuscript and it had seen rejection from every reputable sci-fi publishing house before squeaking into the pages of Analog.

Dune, read the imposing cover, with its evocatively psychedelic sand swirls and tiny white figures straining against an implied storm. The John Schoenherr art revealed little about the plot or themes inside, other than to convey a sense of struggle and desolation in an otherworldly place.

Opening it up, the reader was plunged into a story of universe-shaking drugs, dynastic backstabbing and heterodox mysticism sprinkled with a tumble of words (Bene Gesserit, Kwisatz Haderach, Sardaukargom jabbar) so strange as to constitute a second language. Whatever the sci-fi readers of the day might have expected, this was doubtlessly not it. By all rights, this unexpected book should have sunk beneath the proverbial sands, awaiting rediscovery in a friendlier artistic age.

Instead, after a somewhat tepid start, it proved a runaway best-seller, sweeping every award sci-fi had to offer. Dune would go on to define the rest of Herbert’s life and ripple into the surrounding culture with an impact that no one, including its author, could have foreseen.

In many ways Dune was the epic Omega to the Alpha of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings; released about a decade before. It was sci-fi’s answer to fantasy’s magnum opus, and its only book that can rival Tolkien’s in terms of cultural influence. Herbert’s masterpiece proved tenaciously infectious, its tendrils stretching into all sorts of unexpected corners of the culture, with even its mantras showing up as warning or inspiration.

What is it about this ornate myth that keeps fascinating new generations, why has Dune outlasted its era with such influence?

The FAM: VBS Meets Issei Sagawa

Warning: This film is not for the faint of heart, the faint of stomach, or the easily offended. Make the decision to click the play button accordingly.

On June 11, 1981 a Dutch student named Renée Hartevelt arrived at an apartment at 10 Rue Erlanger She had been invited there by a classmate at the Sorbonne Academy in Paris, France. The classmate was 32 year-old Issei Sagawa. Not long after she arrived he shot her in the neck with a rifle while she sat at a desk with her back to him. Afterward he had sex with her corpse and, over the course of the next two days, proceeded to eat much of her body.

He was held without trial for two years after his arrest until he was declared legally insane (and thereby unfit to stand trial) by French psychiatrists and confined to a mental institution. While there, his account of the crime was published in Japan as In The Fog. His new celebrity was no doubt a determining factor in the French authorities’ decision to extradite him to Japan. There, he was examined once again by psychiatrists who declared him sane but “evil”. Due to a technicality, in which Japanese authorities cited the lack of certain papers supposed to have been provided by French courts, they found it impossible to hold him and on August 12, 1986 Sagawa checked himself out of the mental institution.

For the past 24 years he’s been living in Tokyo. He is still a minor celebrity and has written over twenty books, mostly having to do with his own crimes or commentary on the crimes of others. He’s also been in a few exploitative films and sells his paintings, most of which are portraits of women. This is where VBS meets him then, seemingly running out the tail end of his notoriety and not particularly hopeful for the future. Vice does a commendable job in staying completely out of the way and letting the man speak for himself. Sagawa, for his part, has spent most of his life reflecting on one event and, as is usually the case with interviews of murderers, he has no real answers to provide.

Throughout, Sagawa speaks at length about his disgust both with himself and the public whose interest in the macabre has allowed him to flourish for so long. The last few minutes are of him describing how he would like to die in excruciating pain. It would have been easy for VBS to leave us with that sentiment; the image of the fiend undone by the horrors he has committed. Instead, the last image we see is of Renée Hartevelt, from whom everything was taken and whose death has made everything in Issei Sagawa’s life possible.

On the Bro’d

If you’re a highly sensitive purist, DON’T bother with On the Bro’d: Every Sentence of Kerouac Retold for Bros. It will only sully your palate and piss you off. If you’ve never actually read On the Road, well, you should experience that first, most definitely. Particularly if you are bright-eyed, collegiate (pre or post) and fulla beans. For while it may retain its verve when read at a later age, the classic Kerouac scroll is, first and foremost, a young adventurer’s screed.


via DJ Dead Billy, thanks.

But hey, all you crabby old culture vultures who eat sacred cow burgers with zeal and favor the thigh bones of vegan Sarah Lawrence humanities majors for your walking sticks, pull up to the groaning board and dig the fuck in. If, perhaps, you remain secretly convinced that young Jack and pals could have stood to be a bit less self-indulgent, paternalistic, or just plain fuckwitted, this satirical retelling may provide you with nourishing vindication.

On the Bro’d is exactly what the title describes. References to beer bongs, pimps, Axe Body Spray, Sparks, popped collars, bottle service and “Wonderwall” abound. From its official press release (yes, apparently it has an official press release, ugh): “On The Road is an American classic and the seminal work of the Beat generation, but much of it’s lost in translation when read by the generation that goes to the club and then beats.” The as-of-yet unnamed author insists that his reinterpretation is both appropriate and relevant, seeing as the original book was goaded by the “stirring unrest and genius of a generation of bros.” Nnnngh.

Profoundly cynical and relentlessly obnoxious, On the Bro’d will make you weep and laugh and barf for the future of American culture as only a seasoned NYC designer/writer/humor blogger can make you weep/laugh/barf. So enjoy. Or not. Either way, you have my love and empathy.