Tag Archives: Japan

The Mondo Vixen Massacre is HERE

Vixens

The Mondo Vixen Massacre by Jamie Grefe

 I published a book and it’s time to promote. If you find yourself clicking through, find yourself in the mood for something funny and crazy and cool, please consider buying a copy of THE MONDO VIXEN MASSACRE. Here’s a note I put on my Amazon author page, a note that explains or opens up the process of how this book came about:

 I wrote this story in October 2012 while living and working in Beijing, China. I was teaching Creative Writing to international students and decided to finally make the leap from writing short stories and poems to something bigger, something more intense and cinematic. It was time. 
 
I grew up watching B-movies, exploitation movies, cheesy flicks–everything–and still return to some of my favorite filmmakers in those times when I just need to experience something timeless and beautiful. I love the work of Jim Wynorski, Russ Meyer, Joe D’Amato, Roger Corman, Claudio Fragasso and others, old and new, cheap or Hollywood slick. As the storyline for this book started to take shape in my mind, I fed myself a steady dose of those B-movies. I took notes. I asked questions. I made flow charts and outlines. And then it hit. I saw poor Tom Clay caught in the middle of the most unrealistic and brutal home invasion imaginable. It was those wicked vixens. I had to write, was compelled to write and thus, the story of “The Mondo Vixen Massacre” took root. I wrote the first draft in two weeks and spent significantly more time editing and refining it. I had a special music playlist to help guide me through the scenes (I’ll share it in the near future) and fell in love with this long-form world I had created. I fell in love with these vixens and cheered when Tom took things to the next level. I hope you’ll cheer, too. 
 
When Eraserhead Press acquired this manuscript for publication in their New Bizarro Author Series, I knew I had done something right. Of course, you, dear reader, will have to be the ultimate judge. You’re the one who completes these words. I wrote this book in order to please myself and to give you the psycho-ride of your life. You don’t have to love B-movies to enjoy this book, but you do have to prepare yourself for buckets of gore and other fluids that don’t come out easy. Maybe there are layers here that cannot be conveyed through the movie medium, subtle layers that only books can achieve, slices of mondo madness that will linger years after you finish this book. Or, maybe you’ll want to wash your hands after giving this story a dip, wipe off all that gore. 
 
I am seriously grateful for your support and hope you spend a few afternoons losing yourself in this fantasy world. Thank you for helping an unknown indie author make his way through the trenches. And always, feel free to reach out and drop a line. Let’s grind.

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Tarantino Poetics: On Danny Brown

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It’s something about you and for you to tuck into your pocket when you fall back asleep and it’s darker, too dark. It’s a piece of cake, a snow angel, a sigh in reverse–like you’re swallowing: gulp, gulp, gulp words and sleep.

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I hear Danny Brown for the first time and hear about how that XXX mixtape has been downloaded a million times (and where am I? China, of course, out of touch, of course). I hear he’s from Detroit, Michigan [I’m dreaming woods]. I hear the name of his project, the name of Danny Brown, that name that is a name from Reservoir Dogs or so I hear. I listen to that mix and the second time through, well the second time through is enough for me to feel enormous, blissful, wired-open, and sad. The last track hits me like the blade of a petal.

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We are at the movie theater for the next three hours. There are roughly seven people spread out among the red seats. It is opening night for Pulp Fiction in a small northern Michigan town. When the camera kisses the needle and how the needle’s drug mixes with Vince’s blood, when that happens, I hear footsteps of people leaving and then we are alone, but we’re not alone, because little do we know that what we are watching the mind being fed something that sticks. 

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I compare to try to make sense, to reduce or sometimes my mind just makes connections I can’t control. I play Danny Brown and immediately think Sensational–that DJ Kloss mixtape I’ve played repeating in the dark like a vortex. I want to pull up Kool Keith, but Danny might even be stranger than Keith. It is difficult to tell and I don’t want to tell. I want the experience of a good album to be a question instead. There is a loop on that XXX mixtape that sounds like metal band, a grind loop and I’m back at the shed, back in Michigan again. 

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We take the subway to the northeast exit. We buy tickets from an electronic vendor. We take the elevator to the top floor and find ourselves three more floors up and I’m in a small room and everything is in Japanese–everything except the film we are about to watch: Inglorious Basterds. Later that week, I find a Japanese academic journal, thick with pictures and essays, all academic essays on this film, Inglorious Basterds. I try to read it, but don’t and keep it with me as if to say, “this is where it’s at, this is possible somewhere in the world.”

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The Possible: rhythm, album, Japan, sleep, nod off in a theater, keep calm, calmer, be calm, take a walk, just wander, be triples and slips, keep it wide open and click, click, click.

 

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Words To Paint Lives By

Be like how snow in March makes dogs run circles. Toast friends over liters of Japanese beer, over networks and signals and interfaces for eyes to burn out on. Leave them behind. It’s been four years and at least we have these words–words to paint lives by. The dogs run circles around words down paths where the grass tastes like sun and the wind-tears we wipe on dirtied sleeves somehow make us feel less dirty. So, my island friend, my one of the seat in which I might someday sit once more, may we drink to your health and to the chance you took, no, the chance you gave, for me to be able to write these words to you four years later. It makes life even better–like snow, like running dogs.

Meat Screams: An Attempt at Johannes Gorannson’s Haute Surveillance

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prettypuke.com

“The sound the body makes is akin to the sound toys make when they burn.” I sent a letter to Rudolf Eb.er, infested as I was by his Hate Operation and cut-up, assemblage, shrieks, psycho-acoustic shamanism. He wore meat on his face, a white shirt and black necktie: screaming meat. There were sealed vomit tubs in the closet, an unfinished painting by the bedroom. We listened to a live recording from Taipei, smoked Japanese to death. Pictures of unknown bodies. Pictures of the insides of bodies. My autopsies went unanswered–that defenestration from Austria, somewhere in Osaka (not the Overlook or the Shining Mansion on the Hill).

“This novel is written like a fashion show dedicated to the rioted body.” For a noise act in Tokyo, I took a cheap white shirt, a shirt and smeared it–dirtied it red, made it better. The photographs that were taken on the were tinted in the screams and shrieks, moans and anti-language of the foreigner. It yellowed and hardened until it turned fashion. Lesson: sometimes the body can be tearing apart a fish with contact mics, a folk loop.  

“The erotics of writing reminds me of the needle on a record player.” A needle scrapes vinyl, a radio broadcast in a foreign language. There are blurred faces, the way a woman undresses in a hotel room, you are always woman. David Lynch practices Transcendental Meditation. I have heard that in Iowa or Indiana there are people who float, people who meditate until they float as if the body, numbed by transcendence, becomes lighter, becomes Nothing. The final scene of Takashi Miike’s Audition is the slow torture of a producer who is needled numb and sawed to a state of anti-levitation. I remember being fascinated by this scene. Years later I would buy Inland Empire at Walmart.

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“Language is like candy. It rots my teeth. It makes me spazzy.” E.M. Cioran quipped something like: “Writing in a foreign language is like writing a love letter with a dictionary.” I was a mute foreigner, unpredictable as outsider. One who knows how to screw a fork. There are areas in Tokyo, in Seoul, in Beijing where foreigners are allowed to be foreign, allowed to tongue foreign, act foreign: needles, erotics, vomit. These are the areas where we grind chains in underground cabarets, McDonalds drunk with military officers, a man who said, “as an American, it is my duty to protect you.”

“I want us all to wear kimonos. And sharp words.” The kimono as corset, how it flattened the breasts, restricted the gait in a way that made women walk slow, walk in hare-steps, small steps like floating worlds. This was a point of sexual interest for men. I received the male version of a kimono, the yukata, from a friend in Kyoto whose Japanese was too much the birth of who I would become.

“In B-movies the human body becomes more beautiful and less a subject.” Even a gaze, a transformation. Sherilyn Fenn losing her limbs in front of the Warlock’s mansion. I will keep you here to look how things look from where I see them. You can see them, too.

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“You were in the house, on your knees, in a state of wild terror.” It is a rocking chair and the way the face comes stubbled. Maybe it’s Isabella, my meat grinder, white stripped to the neck, covering neck, but this is not Japan–it’s Berlin. She shrieks in a tunnel, murders detectives in the apartment and all for the monster, all for the lack of her being able to feel.

“Go to Los Angeles, go to Los Angeles.” A friend of mine speaks of the feeling of Los Angeles as everything. I watched Mulholland Drive in Kichijoji. They brought concert-sized speakers to the theater. As the sedan crashed over a Los Angeles skyline, I heard American noise. I caught a slice as if I were other and America from where I was sitting was a fiery wreck of charred bodies, sexual blood, and a beautiful starlet wandering dazed down the hill back into the filthy light.

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Japan Earthquake

I have spent six + years in Japan. Earthquakes are terrifying and Japan is a second home to me. I feel for those affected by this devastating earthquake and tsunami. It is moments like this that the profundity and perplexity of life and death emerge and bewilder. I stand mouth agape. My heart goes out to the Japanese people and all the inhabitants of that beautiful country.

Tokyo Nights: Howl

I’ve been living in Tokyo for two months now. This is my first update since the move. I relocated from a quiet “bed town” in Ibaraki to a beautiful neighborhood close to Shinjuku. While my neighborhood in Tokyo is relatively quiet, I miss the dead-of-night stillness that comes from being in the countryside. I grew up in northern Michigan, so I am quite close to that quietude. It is odd to experience stillness in the midst of a metropolis like Tokyo, and for me, the experience is very different from that of the stillness in the country: being surrounded by open sky and dark woods as opposed to being surrounded by tiny streets, high-rise apartment buildings and cherry blossom trees. Being a fan of horror films, both of these experiences of stillness can be frightening, although the stillness of the woods is a fright closer to my heart. That makes the stillness of the city at night more frightening. The Unexpected can be conjured in both situations, but seems like a wholly different breed to unexpected fright. Are these both symptoms of a fear of what could be lurking around the corner? How do the two different landscapes affect the use and play of shadows?

What I like about the dark nights of the city is the sound of wailing voices coming from the street at night, the frightful chill of an unknown voice and then, upon looking out the window, realizing its only a drunken business man howling because he burnt his “manhood” with his cigarette while trying to urinate on the sidewalk. Now, that’s scary.

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生活習慣病:Lifestyle [Lifestyle-Related] Disease(s) (Musing)

I have gotten back into the mode of studying Japanese on a daily basis. I recently learned this nifty and useful concept, 生活習慣病、which, can be read “seikatsusyuukanbyou.” In English, this means “lifestyle [lifestyle-related] disease(s).” The kanji can be broken down as follows: 生活 (daily life and/or lifestyle), 習慣 (habit(s)), 病 (disease). In my lexicon, this could be understood as diseases or disadvantageous ways of being that result from one’s everyday (or momentary) habits, which encourage unhealthy mental hygiene and physical health. The most common example of this “disease” as expressed in Japanese would probably be overeating. I will refrain from going into the “metabolic syndrome” boom that hit Japan last year.

Could we use this term to include the potential misuse or disadvantageously habitual ways of taking the world into account?

It seems that if we got those ways in which we grasp and are grasped by the world, right, then things like overeating or not getting enough exercise would not have to be dealt with. They simply wouldn’t exist for the person who had a different way of understanding (and doing something with) the prevalence of habits. A firm foundation, a firm understanding of the ubiquity of habits, taken firmly into account, may be just the kind of change that would be needed for someone looking to improve other parts of his or her life (overeating).

What do you think? Am I caught up in my own lifestyle-related dis-ease by wanting to bring this concept under a different light? Is thinking a habit that can be developed? If so, how do we become better thinkers? Is being stuck in a certain way of thinking, itself, a kind of “bad habit?”

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