Saturday, March 21, 2015

4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Free Verse April 20, 2014
By Lisa Lane
Format:Kindle Edition
I received a free advance copy of this work in exchange for my honest review. While not every poem in this collection is perfect, the majority of them are sublime. Each tells a specific and unique story, most of which contain lovely twists within their final lines. A few of them will very likely stay with me for some time. It is rare for a contemporary poet to leave such a lasting impression, but Servante has proven himself a voice for this generation. If you enjoy provocative free verse, you'll love this collection.

Rear View
by Anthony Servante

Day ends
Night begins
The streets and I
Fill the middle;
A tailgater hits his high beams;
I am blinded
And escape into the freeway;
He follows;
I speed to 80,
He to 81;
I slam the brakes;
He jets around me
And slams his brakes;
I swerve around him
And exit;
He follows;
I am far from home,
But so is he;
I blow through
The red lights;
So does he;
I duck into a dark
Deserted street,
Full of emptiness
And potholes;
The street veers off
And dies in a dead-end;
I stop;
He stops, trapping me;
He hits his high beams
Once more;
I squint into the rear view mirror;
He is laughing:
It is me.


And don't forget to check out 


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Cinema in the Dark Double-Feature
Timbuktu (2014)
What We Do in the Shadows (2015)
Reviewed by Anthony Servante

Timbuktu (2014)
Directed by Abderrahmane Sissako
Starring Abel Jafri & Hichem Yacoubi

This is the story of the occupation in 2012 of Timbuktu by the Ansar Dine, a militant Muslim group spreading the Islamic law of Sharia in each town they take over. Basically, dozens of young men carrying weapons enter the town and tell the residents what to do. In the Timbuktu takeover, most of the townsfolk fled, leaving the poor and fringe population to suffer the Sharia laws imposed on them. Some of these ridiculous laws include the women having to wear sox and gloves, no music, no football (soccer), and obeying a strict curfew. 

The punishment for disobeying these rules were equally strict and horrific. Adulterers were buried in the sand up to their necks and stoned to death. Thieves had their hands hacked off. Townsfolk who braved playing music on instruments or by singing were hunted nightly by the armed patrols and subjected to vicious lashings in public. Although everyone had a trial, the judges interpreted the Sharia law to favor punitive actions. 

But the occupation of Timbuktu is but the backdrop of the story. We follow the lives of a married couple, the local eccentric (a woman dressed in loud colors, carrying a rooster and cursing the soldiers), a soldier who wants to marry a local girl (even though it is against Islamic law--one of the hypocritical actions of the occupiers, the other being the leader smoking cigarettes, which is outlawed), a mysterious person driving a motor bike, and other local characters. All their stories merge at the end of the movie in sad and hopeless horror.

The film is subtly constructed. Even though each character's story seems isolated, by the finale, the bigger story has emerged. The absurdity of the Sharia laws and its punishments are taking its toll on the townsfolk and a rebellion seems to be brewing. The two points of view on Jihad intentions, one from the town religious leader and the other from the Sharia judges are dividing the faithful from the hypocrites.

Timbuktu is a slice of life in the time of terrorist occupation where even the most faithful Muslims question the intentions of the Ansar Dine. Be prepared to listen to a number of languages (Tuareg, Bambara, Arabic, French, and English) with subtitles where necessary. Multilingual translators are in high demand and sometimes translations required going through three languages before even reaching the English subtitles. But I guess that's the point. When even people of the same faith cannot communicate, religious groups begin to splinter. Timbuktu captures the reasons for this divisiveness with charm, subtlety and horror. 

What We Do in the Shadows (2015)

Directed By: Taika Waititi , Jemaine Clement
Written By:Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi.
Jemaine Clement as Vladislav
Taika Waititi as Viago
Jonathon Brugh as Deacon
Cori Gonzalez-Macuer as Nick
Stu Rutherford as Stu
Ben Fransham as Petyr

What We Do in the Shadows (2015) is a satiric poke at the vampire genre in film, especially the "Glitter Vampire" that is somehow still in vogue. In "found footage" documentary style, a quartet of vampires is followed by a film crew to document the night life of four undead roommates. Taika Waititi plays Viago, a young 317 years of age. A "dandy" when he was turned into a creature of the night, he hosts the documentary and explains the comings and goings of the vampire lifestyle in his most foppish mannerisms from dress to affectations. 

Jemaine Clement plays Vladislav, 862 years old. His character is a take-off on Vlad the Impaler; Clement is Vladislav the Poker (yes, there is a Facebook joke later that riffs on his taking to the internet). In Flight of the Conchords, Jermaine shows us a talent for dry wit and deadpan humor (no pun intended), but he was given next to nothing to do in Men in Black 3 (2013). Here, however, his comic timing and one-liners are back and at peak form ("I'm going to stay in and do my dark bidding", he says ominously, until we realize he's referring to eBay).

Jonathan Brugh plays Deacon, the "teenager" of the group at 183 years of age. The film begins with Deacon being scolded for not having washed dishes in five years. 

Lastly, Ben Fransham rounds out the quartet, playing Petyr, the 8,000 year old vampire, from an age when the creature of darkness was more monster than human in appearance. Of course, Petyr is a take on Nosferatu (1922, Director: F. W. Murnau), the knock-off of Bram Stoker's Dracula. This ancient vampire provides some genuine scares. 

Rhys Darby, also from Flight of the Conchords, plays Anton the alpha werewolf from the pack of lycanthropes that rumble with our vamp flatmates. His straight-faced demeanor when admonishing his fellow werewolves for bad language is a scene-stealing classic and destined to become a meme for the ages.

The plot revolves around the upcoming Unholy Masquerade for vampires, zombies, and other horror movie icons. We also witness our vampires' mundane nightlife where they must feed but also have fun. This is difficult to do as they must be invited into the establishments where they want to party, such as nightclubs (a funny scene involves they're trying to convince the doorman to let them into the club). But we also see their neurotic tics and social fears play out, such as what to do with a freshly turned vampire who doesn't follow their rules or befriending a human who all other vampires want to feed on. And wait till you meet The Beast, Vladislav's nemesis. 

The humor sneaks up on you and doesn't overstay its welcome, as it does in the Scary Movie franchise. And because the movie is so ordinary in its documentary form, the special effects will catch you off guard. Who needs jumpscares when we have laugh-scares?! I want to see What We Do In The Shadows over and again. I laughed so much, I'm sure I missed many of the gags. You'd not only need repeat viewings, but you'd need to be immortal to catch all the laughs 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Poetry Today
Trends and Traditions 19
The Spark of the Muse

Compiled and Formatted
Anthony Servante

Yes, I decided to bring back the poetry column. Even brought back Bullwinkle. I'll continue to do the one-on-one critiques of today's poets, but I wanted to continue to follow the "trends and traditions" of today's poetry and share them with my readers. The column will come out on a semi-regular basis, for I find the chains of a monthly publication too grueling to enjoy what I'm doing. Without the deadlines, I can be as capricious as I'd like and jump in with a new column whenever the spark of the muse strikes. So, welcome back, dear readers. Let's get on with the business at hand. 

With us for our 19th column we have Michael H. Hanson, Robert Matejko, and Kimber Joy Acrylic. Michael brings his art-inspired works (along with the paintings as headers) for us. As usual, he deconstructs the mood, hue, and subject of the painting and reconstructs it into prose. Mr. Hanson has submitted three poems for you to enjoy. Robert is new to the column, so bid him welcome. Mr. Matejko provides us with an audio experience that combines word, visuals, and ethereal sound. He is closer to performance artist than poet, but his poetry is spot on and can stand alone on any page. Kimber Joy Acrylic returns with her dynamic poetry. It was her poem BLURRY MIRRORS that nudged me to bring back the column. She is a master at the passionate metaphor and isn't afraid to offend your Romantic sensibilities with the grotesqueries of her poetry. Kim has submitted three poems for us to wallow in, and we thank her. 

Well, the poetry awaits you, but first... 

Our Poets

The Poems

"Chandra Reclining" -- Photograph by Blake Little

Amber Lover
by Michael H. Hanson
Time now glazes my first lover
in the beautiful pure amber
of memory's lustrous cover
and reflective golden glamour.
I've given her a perfection
by casting her in my mind's eye,
a warm, idyllic affection,
young, lovely, and so very spry.
She glows like a distant lantern
burning through the fog of my life,
guiding wishes through a nocturne
with darksome notes from regret's fife.
The sun wakens me from this dream
a poor proxy
to her beauty
and most enduring gaudy gleam.


Photograph: Kawa | photography
Model: Vivien Jost

by Michael H. Hanson
Some days she wants to fade away,
away from every fickle day,
to strip off all of life's dark pain,
and leave through some magic archway.
She needs something that will allay
all of her current hurts and aches,
promising to lead her astray
to soothing rivers and ripe grapes.
She simply wants to go someplace,
to slip into this golden haze,
warming her soul as it sashays
and melts into dusk's amber glaze.
Away, away, to far away
dissolving thus
without a fuss
escaping every yesterday.


"Hipster Douchebag Profile Pic
-- painting by artist Molly Roberts

(hipster conversation in Soho coffee shop)
by Michael H. Hanson

A twenty-something couple in deep contemplation at La Colombe. One a fedora hat and vintage Fall jacket, the other, long pleated scarf and faded ebony pea coat. Both sport horned-rim glasses with fake lenses.

They suck down dark coffee with tons of sugar. Posed, they start up a short but memorable conversation.

"Winona Ryder is still hot, even if she is Spock's dead mom."

"But she's betrayed the cause!"

"Because she vapes instead of smokes?"

"Flirty with death is sexy."

"Shoplifting at Saks Fifth is sexier."

"Woulda been cool to see her bite the bullet in Godfather Trois."

"Yeah, but Sofia taking a dirt nap was pretty gnarly."

"Heathers is Ryder's best role."

"Nope. Beetlejuice."

"You know she's a natural blonde and has always dyed her hair black, right?"

"Yeah? I'd still jump her bones."

"Winona forever."

They give my middle-aged backside the stink-eye as I leave my bored waitress a big tip and rush out the front door to catch a late taxi.

Can you guess which one was the girl?

You might be surprised....


Lamia by Robert Matejko

Bing Satellites - Tonight I Am The Sun / More


Kimber Joy Acrylic
"Hyperbolic Love Letters"

Your hyperbolic love letters burn orange in the tarnished midnight.

A syringe of lies makes for beautiful goodnight kisses.

Soul mates without souls, masturbate with imaginary genitalia.

Coat hanger birth control, haunts the pseudo Christian house wives in seclusion.

Sweaty with passion, manifestos are written by anorexic feminists with soccer mom hair dos.

Candied with scandals, they lactate deception for small town politics.

Alienation provides in secret Victorian fashion, for ex beauty queen's breakdowns.

Bandwagon of propaganda, spills itself onto the grasses of the greener side.

Temptation swallows children, before you teach of the birds and bees.

Pregnant with trend, you miscarry your phantom snobbery inside your swollen ego.

Regret only your misplaced off colored motives.
©Kim Acrylic 2015

Kimber Joy Acrylic
"Ghost At the Funeral" (Poem)

Sensitive to light, love, and life

I satisfy my night with kisses from your wife.

Inspiration massacres my ingenious addictions

Genocide childhood makes for intense, putrid afflictions.

Dreamy abuses scar my mysterious ills.

Weak with strength, I eat the last of the trendy pills.

Suicide, homicide, where did it all begin?

Kiss me with your own personal war, then please, never again.

Snowy summers clash wildly in my head

I fake your orgasms before you leave me in bed.

Chapter one of your forever ending story

I fall to earth without golden, tattooed glory.

I dance to the tune of broken, rustic wind chimes

I torture for the reasons of love crimes.

My laughter will cease, darkness grows loud

I marry your ghost at the funeral, is your goddess proud?
©Kim Acrylic 2015

Kimber Joy Acrylic
"Blurry Mirrors"

Blurry mirrors bleed away false colored beauty with jagged flaws.

Compulsive liar in the being we call self esteem.

Heartbreaking images echo back to me in a rusty reflection

Synthetic face plastered like an age old mannequin.

Red and white hues despise my sinful, cheating appearance.

I crumble like the pixalated paint I molest my skin with.

Black and white perfection hides your sobbing soul.

Misshapen canvas warps and morphs beneath my truths.

Scarred by broken sentences of an insulting youth, you fall...

Down the rabbit hole of deformed models with obese personalities.

Vacant stares are seen through cheapened angles of camera lenses.

Cartoon shaded hair, eyes, and lips tattooed with vivid agonies

Play dress up with your imaginary body image

Don't forget to kiss off your mask before bed.
©Kim Acrylic 2015


And there you have it, our 19th poetry column. If you wish to submit your poetry for consideration for the 20th column, send two or three of your poems to under the heading "Poetry submissions 20". Thank you, and see you again soon.