Archive for black hymeneal

Black Hymeneal update (11/02/2017)

Posted in Black Hymeneal with tags on November 2, 2017 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Since it has been almost 5 months from the last time I mentioned it here, I just wanted to give you all an update on my upcoming poetry collection, Black Hymeneal. Well, I haven’t met my last 2 deadline goals (8/26 & 10/31, respectively), but I have been meeting periodically with my longtime friend Denisse Montoya, who has agreed to help me with the technical aspects of the layout, cover design, and publication of the book. I have retyped the manuscript and written new introductions for many of the individual poems, as well as a general introduction for the book. I have given the manuscript to her and she has promised to read it over for reference and inspiration as she works on the cover design. At the moment I am also awaiting a PDF version of the book for pending approval before we can submit it to Create Space for e-book publication. Once that happens, a trade paperback edition should also become available for order through Amazon. After this first stage is over we shall get working on putting together a nice hardback version which shall go to anyone who donated to the original fundraiser back in 2015.

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7 Minutes in Hell (10/14/2017)

Posted in 7 Minutes in Hell, Black Hymeneal, Jobot Coffee & Bar, Melt Ice Cream Shop with tags , , , , on October 16, 2017 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Facebook event banner for the 2017 edition of 7 Minutes in Hell.

Saturday night I took part in what is to be the last 7 Minutes in Hell to be performed at the Pierce Street location of Space 55. It had been a while since I had read there, at least a year or more, and I figured it would be a good opportunity to plug my forthcoming book, Black Hymeneal. I went to the theater directly after getting off from work, so I was a bit early and so I decided to go to Jobot, a hip local coffee shop on 5th street & Roosevelt, for a quick snack, but they seemed to be closed for some reason. Moving down a few doors I stumbled upon an ice cream shop called Melt. The flavors were very unusual, pistachio with cherries, churro, horchata, etc. I settled on a single scoop cake cone of horchata and was not disappointed! It even came topped with a fortune cookie; the message within read: “You will lighten another’s heart.”

I don’t know if I did that, but I believe I entertained a few people in the audience at least. I was 3rd in line after a boisterous opening song by host Russ Kazmierczak and a hilarious skit by Ashley Naftule. Russ had what I assume was a karaoke track for Bon Jovi’s Wanted Dead or Alive over which he sang a lyric about all the wondrous things he’d seen at Space 55. His voice wasn’t always on key, but his heart was in the right place and he got the whole room, myself included, singing the refrain “I saw it at Space 55”.

Ash came on in character as a film critic whose name was a spoof on Cliff Notes, but I cannot recall exactly what it was. His deal was that he was a critic who would do reviews of movies he’d never seen. He asked the audience to shout out some film titles and he would do these brilliantly hilarious reviews. Ash is a master of improv and his broad knowledge of film and pop culture was put to good use here.

Then I came up, plugged Black Hymeneal and my blog, then read 3 poems selected from my book. I started off with Manurog to ease the crowd in, then moved onto Manqueller Manque finally wrapping up with Love Song of the Lugubrious Gondolier. My preamble was a bit rusty, and it soon became apparent, to me at least, just how long it had been since I’d last read in public. I introduced Manurog as a poem about a goblin that takes his grooming tips from Ed Gein and ended by saying it was “one for the kiddies”, which got a chuckle from the audience. My explanation for Manqueller wasn’t anything special, I just explained how the inspiration came from a book on obsolete words and how it was about a would be murderer. My explanation for Love Song… was a bit clunky and when I explained it was inspired by a movie they asked for my review (in reference to Ash’s skit) I replied that I couldn’t do that because I had already seen the movie. The set seemed to go over fairly well, despite my losing place in the middle of Manqueller. The reason for this was that my old book of poems has so many corrections and cross-outs in it that I couldn’t tell where to look for the marginal notations. That being said, I did get a few compliments afterward.

Now, I tend to get antsy after I come off stage and generally only stay for the next act so as not seem ungrateful for a chance to read or non-supportive of my fellow artistes.  I waited for the next act, Steve Marek, a stand-up comedian to do his bit. His set began with a eulogy to Hugh Hefner, which was clever, and ended with a political “horror tale”. He asked the house to dim the lights and he used the light from his gadget (i-Phone, or whatever) like one might put a flashlight under one’s chin to tell a campfire tale, as he regaled us with an explicit piece of horror-otica featuring Sherriff Joe and Jan Brewer engaged in some rather compromising  hi-jinks. It was a bit sophomoric, but it had some poignant political digs thrown in for good measure.

I considered leaving then, but ended up sticking around for the next act. This one was a woman named Dineta Williams-Trigg who I guess is a regular in the scene, I did not know her but she was very personable and even approached me before the show to ask me about my Venom t-shirt. She explained that she was a fan of B-movie Horror and had recognized the Baphomet symbol on it. I returned the compliment by saying that I liked her Glen or Glenda t-shirt. She gave her time up to invite people to come up and talk about their experiences at Space 55 and what it meant to them. First up was Amy Ouzoonian who came up with her precious infant in a make-shift papoose fashioned from of a long swaddling blanket wound around her torso. She told of her experiences there as part of the Arcana Collective and as a cast member in one of the past productions featured at the venue. She would later come back up with her babe to recite a monologue about the questionable joys of mother hood. Then came Marcella Grassa who told a similar tale of working with the Arcana Collective and being in shows, most recently as one of the leads in Ashley Naftule’s play “The Ear”. Lastly, was an audience member who told how seeing some of the wacky skits there gave him the courage to try his hand at performing on stage.

After this heart warming tribute, I began to relax and just enjoy the show and stopped looking for a chance to make my exit. I believe the next act was Marcella and her friend Gullveig (spelling?) who did a skit they’d penned about the legendary water spirit Melusine explaining to the goddess Kali her decision to allow Starbucks to use her image for their brand logo. It was a bit rough in spots (Marcella gave the disclaimer before they began that they had just written it a couple of days before and were under-rehearsed) but very clever and on the money on certain points about cultural appropriation by big corporations. I also dug their costumes, which were simple but effective for featuring identifiable attributes of the entities they portrayed.

Space 55 regular Leslie Barton did a shtick as a brontosaurus comedian called Brontobill Hicks, Bill Brontohicks, or something to that effect.  She basically wore a brontosaurus mask and told  brontosaurus themed jokes in the manner of Bill Hicks. Up next was Paul Kolecki, one of the current Space 55 troupe who played the male lead in “The Ear”. He did a passionate monologue from “Death of a Salesman”.

Following him were the Arcana Collective the fluid line-up of which this time consisted of Ernesto Moncada as the shaman Don Pablo Xibalba (Xibalba, roughly translated as “place of fear”–according to Wikipediais the Mayan word for the Underworld), a character he played in “The Ear” and Allison Dee who was topless, dressed only in skimpy panties and a body-length, diaphanous, black veil which, along with the usual Arcana eye kohl, made her look like a vamp from a Paul Naschy film. She played the theremin and some Eastern-looking variation on a percussion triangle. Don Pablo, also topless but not creating quite the same effect on the beholder (not to disparage Ernesto’s rakish good looks), called for a volunteer from the audience  and a young man came up. Don Pablo made him drink from a glass bottle filled with the “waters of the dead”, I believe he said, then covered him with a red cloth and did some mock ritual over him involving maracas and some amusing mumbo-jumbo. There was more to it, but I cannot recall the detail.  Either way it was very amusing and one of the more accessible things I have seen them do.

Closing the show was comedic singer Scott Gesser, who began with a brief monologue introducing the song he was to play. The intro went a bit too long, but the song, a tale about his misadventures in Nebraska, was fun.

In the end, I stayed for the whole show and not once had the usual anxiety fueled  urgency to bail the premises, which is saying a lot. All the artists and entertainers were fun and unique in their way and I was glad to have been part of the show. I look forward to upcoming events at their new location and even have an invite to participate in a planned Horror themed Christmas show to make up for the last Lovecraft bash in August which had to be postponed for real life stuff. Good times.

“Black Hymeneal” Reboot

Posted in Black Hymeneal, Gothic Poetry, Gothic Prose with tags , , , on June 16, 2017 by Manuel Paul Arenas

My first poetry collection, “Black Hymeneal”, is back on track. It will not be the beautiful book I envisioned so long ago, but it will at least get out into the world. It shall not feature any specific artwork. Unfortunately, my friend Michele has some pressing familial responsibilities which have taken precedence (understandably) over helping to complete the artwork for the book, so I am going to just continue without it at this point. Perhaps someday we can collaborate on a portfolio of the completed artwork she did for the book, if the collection proves to be successful enough to warrant that. Her lovely artwork deserves to be seen, and I hope some day it will be. I appreciate the hard work she did and the help she gave me in showing me the ropes of the publishing business. I shall never forget her kindness.

The table of contents for the new book has changed, since I have decided to pull a few pieces for another planned collection of song lyrics for my old band, The Dark Young. More on that after I get “Black Hymeneal” into the world.

The new selection is as follows:

01. Manurog
02. Hell-flower
03. Thalia
04. Witch’s Tit
05. Sor Maria and the Devil, Luzbel
06. Krampus
07. Manqueller Manque
08. Moribond
09. Skull in an Ice Cream Cone
10. HPL RIP
11. Broceliande
12. Threnody
13. Black Hymeneal

I have already begun retyping the manuscript and adding new introductions for the poems. My goal was to be ready to publish by my 50th birthday in August. We’ll see if I can make the deadline. Keep your eyes on future posts with updates.

Skull in an Ice Cream Cone

Posted in Black Hymeneal, Gothic Poetry, Gothic Prose, Kharon, Michele Bledsoe, Moira, River Styx with tags , , , , , , , on October 21, 2015 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Skull in an Ice Cream Cone comes in 13 flavors including disabusal, despair, and doom.

Toppings of mingled tears and lifeblood ooze down the bony pate in delectable fashion, dripping across nullified sockets, and pooling around pearly teeth, lovingly nestled in a crunchy waffle cone.

Sprinkled atop the crest are tiny crumbs of respite and joy, which are few and fleeting.

Guaranteed to all, everyone eventually gets a taste regardless of age, sex, race or station; proportionally meted out in accordance to one’s fate as determined by our lovely scoop girl, Moira.

And, for a limited time only, some lucky folks may find a shiny treat betwixt those immobile ivories–like an obol for Kharon, to ensure safe passage across the river Styx!

Won’t you have a lick? I hear it’s to die for…

"Skull in an Ice Cream Cone" illustration by Michele Bledsoe.

“Skull in an Ice Cream Cone” illustration by Michele Bledsoe.

Black Hymeneal

Posted in Gothic Poetry, New Addams Family with tags , , , , on September 25, 2015 by Manuel Paul Arenas

This is the title piece from my upcoming book. I got the initial inspiration for it from an offhanded comment in an episode of the New Addams Family where Gomez and Morticia were reminiscing about the first time they met. I then began to wonder what their wedding must have been like, so I began to write what was intended to be a romantic/humorous description of the wedding ceremony but it got dark very quickly and I realized that I was writing about something more serious. I then changed the name of the bride from Morticia to Azraelle, a feminized version of the Angel of Death, and thus was born one of the most prominent figures from my oeuvre. She is also featured in a triptych consisting of the prose poems “The Toilette of Azraelle, the Litch Queen”, “A-Hunting She Will Go”, and “Good Morrow, Azraelle Undercroft”, all of which may be found on this blog. So, without further ado, I present to you my wedding song for Death, “Black Hymeneal”…

Work in progres: Michele Bledsoe's illustration for "Black Hymeneal", the finished version will be featured in my book of the same name.

Work in progres: Michele Bledsoe’s illustration for “Black Hymeneal”, the finished version of which will be featured in my book of the same name.

Azraelle, my moribund bride, gowned in ebon lace

Down the funest aisle you stride, with an exequial pace

Niveous hands let fingers slip, with sharpened ruby nails

Like little bloodied arrow-tips, which have my heart impaled

Your fine fair bosom does not heave, with movements to respire

But moves my will, in twain, to cleave, as my heart would to expire

Trailing from your muddy feet, your sombre bridal train

Sullied in your brief retreat through graveyards in the rain

Tangled in its filigree are tokens from the grave

Supported by, with impish glee, a grotesque Lilim babe

Behind your veil of spider’s webs, your sable tresses flow

In rivulets, about you ebbs away from your dark brow

Peeling back gossamer mesh, your eyes aglow, like gleeds

Burning into my weak flesh to my wan heart, which bleeds

Your crimson labia do stretch into a hungry smile

Enticing me, a poor fey wretch, with lewd and baneful wiles

Eagerly, I give to you, my last remaining breath

And as my lips avow “I do” receive your kiss of Death

Black Hymeneal Photo Shoot

Posted in black humor, goth, gothic, photo shoot, portrait photography, promotion, skulls, voodoo with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2015 by Manuel Paul Arenas

On May 15th, I did a promotional photo shoot for my upcoming poetry collection, Black Hymeneal. I decided that I wanted to put a face to the book, which already has a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/BlackHymeneal) and let people know what sort of project it is. I felt a bunch of fun photos with a Gothic twist would project the appropriate image for what I have in mind. I asked my friend Hydroxia to take the photos, since I had seen some work she had done in the Gothic vein and could see that she had an understanding of the aesthetic I was aiming for. Of course, I was correct in putting my faith in her talents because (as you see here) she really caught the essence of what I was trying to get across. She helped me find the right props for my surroundings and she also helped me with my look, which is very similar to what I used to wear in my Dark Young days, although the “guy-liner” was her idea (I must admit it does make my eyes stand out a bit more) and she helped me find the amazing robe I am wearing, which we located through Redhead Sadie Vintage:

Redhead Sadie Vintage business card

Redhead Sadie Vintage business card

We staged the shoot in the living room of my good friends Richard and Michele Bledsoe (authors of the children’s poetry book “The Secret Kingdom”); we drank some wine, took some pics, and had an all around fun evening. Here are some of my favorites:

Not sure exactly what this sphere is, but it makes me think of Pinhead's puzzle box.

Not sure exactly what this sphere is, but it makes me think of Pinhead’s puzzle box.

Effervescent crystal ball:

Effervescent crystal ball: “I see a bottle of sparkling Spanish Cava in your future!”

This one's got a voodoo vibe to it.

This one’s got a voodoo vibe to it.

Whispering swart nothings...

Whispering swart nothings…

Me in my colonial days

Me in my colonial days

Can I help you?

Can I help you?

Sepia tone pic of me in my new robe, wearing Richard Bledsoe's glasses. They look nice, but I couldn't see a damn thing through them--LOL!

Sepia tone pic of me in my new robe, wearing Richard Bledsoe’s glasses. They look nice, but I couldn’t see a damn thing through them–LOL!

I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. Bava

I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. Bava

My paranormal romance novel cover pose:

My paranormal romance novel cover pose: “Come hither, my darkling dear…”

Surprise! Note the bottom cuspids, which almost make me look a little lupine here.

Surprise! Note the bottom cuspids, which almost make me look a little lupine here.

Another paranormal romance cover pose: love the flowing locks and the inviting gesture.

Another paranormal romance cover pose: love the flowing locks and the inviting gesture.

Some behind the scenes shots:

Candle detail

Candle detail; I love the sparkly cobweb drapery: magical!

The set: how many skulls do you see in this picture?

The set: how many skulls do you see in this picture?

Table detail

Table detail

One of the many skulls on our set, replete with votive candle for that extra eerie look

One of the many skulls on our set, replete with votive candle for that extra eerie look

Michele feeds me grapes

Michele feeds me grapes