Archive for Michele Bledsoe

Goodbye 2015

Posted in 2015, Planet Poe, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 1, 2016 by Manuel Paul Arenas

2015 was an odd year for me. Some very big things came up, but never quite came to fruition as it were. Most of my accomplishments and failures revolved around my book, “Black Hymeneal”.

With the help and guidance of my good friend Michele Bledsoe, I put together the content and layout for the book, which I had been talking about making for twenty years or so. We arranged to have the fund raiser, through Indiegogo, but didn’t even come close to reaching our goal of $2,000. Now, we are changing our original plans and seeing how we can cut costs and use the money we do have. It will still be published, it just won’t be the hardcover art book I hoped it would be, and it may take longer than I’d hoped to get it done.

portrait

Michele Bledsoe’s portrait of me for the “Black Hymeneal” book cover.

Michele is looking into other options, even electronic, which might get us more distribution and still allow us to use our collected funds for a few books for the folks who contributed to the fundraiser. A new goal for 2016, I guess…

come hither.jpg

“Come hither, my little darkling…” one of the many great pics from the Black Hymeneal photo-shoot by Hydroxia.

Also associated with “Black Hymeneal” was when I asked my good friend Hydroxia to do a photo-shoot promoting the book. In our travels to find the appropriate props and costume for the shoot, we realized that we had a strong connection, which blossomed into a very promising relationship, which unfortunately went awry and eventually imploded. As fraught with drama and high emotion as it was, however,this proved to be the closest I have come to a real reciprocated love relationship. I acknowledge that my inexperience in such things, added to my social anxiety,  probably sparked my friend’s misgivings about the whole affair, which translated into her slowly but surely pushing me away until I couldn’t deal with it and hastily put an official end to everything; but I still feel that not all blame should fall on me, as she was a bit impatient with me and also did not follow through on many heavy proclamations she made at the start of things, which gave me expectations that I fret over (perhaps too much, admittedly) when not realized. Even so, there’s no use crying over spilled milk as they say. What’s done is done and if I had my druthers now, I would have forgone the failed romance to save the friendship. She is a smart, beautiful, talented, fun, young lady and I miss her terribly.

IMG_0782_resize

Me and Hydroxia at the Planet Poe show in May of 2015.

In my attempt to process what I was feeling, I tried to write some poetry about it. However, the memories hurt too much for me to get much done, so all I have are fragments of poem ideas which I shall share at the end of this post. The only good which I consider having come from this is that I have some great photos, some great memories, and now know what not to do or say to a prospective partner if and when I get another chance at love.

Part the Second

Drummer Geoff Chse’s cover art for the follow-up Dark Young album, “Part the Second”, featuring a Posada print.

2015 was also the year that my old band the Dark Young finally released the long-awaited follow-up to our 1994 debut album. It is composed of recordings made in several different countries over 20 plus years, and it sounds at home along side of the original album. I wish we could have had a reunion gig to promote it, but we all live in different states now and our saxophonist lives in India at the moment, so that wouldn’t be practical.

Last, but not least, 2015 was the year I joined the Planet Poe theatrical troupe, run by Robert X. Planet, and which specializes in dramatic recitals of various works by Edgar Allan Poe. I have done two shows so far, and have enjoyed it immensely. I love the work and my companions are wonderful people, from whom I have learned a lot about the art of acting. We have plans to do another show in the Spring, so keep an eye out for more news on that in the future.

A snapshot of me, in costume, with the skeleton prop from "The Oval Portrait", taken by fellow troupe member, Joy.

A snapshot of me, in costume, with the skeleton prop from “The Oval Portrait”, taken by fellow troupe member, Joy.

Anyway, I did not quite meet my goals for 2015, but I got close and learned a lot. Hopefully 2016 will prove to be the year I finally realize some of these dreams. I wish you all much joy and prosperity in 2016. See you all next year!

As promised, here are the fragments for Hydroxia:

https://mannysbookofshadows.wordpress.com/2016/01/16/fragments-for-the-griff/

 

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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.

Fundraiser for “Black Hymeneal”

Posted in Fundraisers, Gothic Poetry, Indiegogo, Self Publishing with tags , , , , , on September 21, 2015 by Manuel Paul Arenas

It’s finally started! The fundraiser for my upcoming collection of poetry, “Black Hymeneal” has begun and you too can contribute! Follow the link below and it will take you to my pitch video and all of the pertinent information on how to contribute to the publication of this book.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/black-hymeneal-by-manuel-paul-arenas#/story

Each book will be a hardcover, with a full color dust jacket, and will be fully illustrated throughout by artist Michele Bledsoe.

Work in Progress: the portrait of me by Michele Bledsoe, which will be used for the cover of the book.

Work in Progress: the portrait of me by Michele Bledsoe, which will be used for the cover of the book.

Poems featured in the book are as follows:

01) Manurog

02) My Friend Boris

03) Gargoyle

04) Manqueller Manque

05) Skull in an Ice Cream Cone

06) Thalia

07) Threnody

08) The Golem of Prague

09) Flower of Evil

10) Night Hag

11) Witch’s Tit

12) Sor Maria and the Devil, Luzbel

13) Black Hymeneal

Work in progress: some of the images which will be detailed and used to illustrate the book. Images featured here are for Black Hymeneal, Skull in an Ice Cream Cone, Gargoyle, and Manurog.

Work in progress: some of the images which will be detailed and used to illustrate the book. Images featured here are for Black Hymeneal, Skull in an Ice Cream Cone, Gargoyle, and Manurog.

 

We have been allotted 40 days in which to raise this money and have only 35 days left as of this posting. Remember, no contribution is too small, and even $5 contributions can qualify you for one of our many cool perks; so, reserve your copy today!

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

The Golem of Prague

Posted in Blood Libel, golem, Golem of Prague, Gothic Poetry, Jewish folklore, Joachim Neugroschel, Paul Wegener, Rabbi Loew with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2015 by Manuel Paul Arenas

“Great Tales of Jewish Occult and Fantasy” by Joachim Neugroschel (1991, Wings Books)

Back in the 90’s I picked up a collection called Great Tales of Jewish Occult and Fantasy: The Dybbuk and 30 Other Classic Stories (1991), by Joachim Neugroschel, which featured themes of mysticism and the supernatural. This was the first time I had heard of a Dybbuk and it is also where I read the original account of the Golem of Prague. I was so inspired by the Golem story, that I wrote a narrative prose poem about it, coming from the point of view of the creature, which I initially entitled “Thoughts of a Soul-less Savior”. Over the years, I have read it at poetry readings and shared it with some of my Jewish friends who appreciate the acknowledgement of their people’s lore from a gentile. My old band, the Dark Young, even made a performance piece out of it which we have finally recorded in a studio, after 20 plus years, and we shall be releasing as part of our long overdue follow-up to our 1994 debut album–but that’s a tale for another blog entry.

The tale deals with the story of the Rabbi Loew, or Levi, depending on the source, who must defend his people against the “Blood Libel”. The Jews of 16th century Prague ghettos were the victims of anti-Semitic attacks and were being accused of kidnapping and sacrificing Christian children in blood rituals (never mind that this soooo un-kosher the very idea is ludicrous). The rabbi made a homunculus, called a golem, out of clay and brought it to life using rituals and incantations. The creature protected the rabbi’s people until an oversight allowed it to run amok and wreak havoc, so he had to put it down.

The Rabbi Loew and his golem.

The Rabbi Loew and his golem.

An excellent film adaptation of this was done in 1920 by director Paul Wegener, called “Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam” (“The Golem: How He Came into the World”), the creation scene of which should be used as the visual for the Dark Young piece if it is ever made into a music video, as it follows the ritual I describe verbatim.

The beginning of the end for the Golem is when he falls in love. [

The beginning of the end for the Golem is when he falls in love. [“Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam”, 1920]

In recent years, I decided to make the subject of the poem a little easier to recognize by renaming it as “The Golem of Prague”, and it shall be one of the 13 poems in my upcoming collection “Black Hymeneal: the Black Light Verse and Gothic Vignettes of Manuel Paul Arenas”, which I am presently putting together and which shall be illustrated by Arizona artist Michele Bledsoe co-author and illustrator of the children’s book “The Secret Kingdom”.

“The Secret Kingdom” a children’s book of poetry and paintings by Richard and Michele Bledsoe.

Michele’s husband, Richard Bledsoe, who also contributed to “The Secret Kingdom”, gave me a painting he did of a golem which ties in beautifully with my poem, which is now hanging on the wall of my living room.

“Golem” by Richard Bledsoe.

I’ve mentioned it a lot on here, but I do not recall ever having posted the poem itself, so without further ado, here is my poem “The Golem of Prague” as it stands today (a note to the reader “circumferring” is a word I created to fit the piece, basically the word is used here imply that the “air sign” is carrying the Torah around the circumference, or perimeter of the golem) :

I am Joseph, the mute beadle of the Maharal; conceived of in a dream, I am the answer to his prayers. God is not my creator, although it is through His mercy that I exist. A child of the elements am I, and of them men which from them are derived.

Seven times did the fire sign encircle my form and I began to glow with a fire in my frame.

Seven times did the water sign encircle my form, and the fire was quenched.

Seven times did the air sign encircle my form, circumferring the sacred scrolls of the Torah and reciting the cabalistic incantations which would set my being into motion. Then, simultaneously, they uttered the Holy Verse of Creation, and I lived!

But I shall only be suffered to do so until my people are free of the dark cloud of the Blood Libel; then I shall lay myself down and my fathers shall reverse, thus undoing, the rituals which bind me to this world.

And I shall return, as they themselves must eventually do, to the lifeless clay from which I was fashioned.