Fire with Fire?

So in Arizona now, it's illegal to teach classes that can be construed as aiming to "promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, promote resentment of a particular race or class of people, are designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group or advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals."

Hmmmm....So, like, does that include the usual Whites-Only history? Can this law be used to force the schools too include more ethnic studies in the classroom?

One can also make the case that an ethnic studies program is designed for ALL students, is not designed to promote resentment but understanding, etc...

in other news, better get ridda that accent!:



Just Legalize It, Yo.

Aah, Prohibition. Making liqour illegal seemed like a good idea at the time: everyone would just stop getting wasted, beating their wives, and dying yellow in a puddle of puke and twisted metal (oh those crazy new-fangled automobiles!). Unfortunately, people are going to drink whether they're allowed to or not. It was (and is) embedded in many American cultural traditions, it helps people relax, get laid, and party like it's 1929. So people started making alchohol in their bathtubs, sometimes blowing themselves up or blinding customers, empowering the mob to the point where Capone more or less ran Chicago, increased rates of alcoholism, and going to jail for the right to drink. So what did we do? We demanded our liquor back. Turns out the government can't stop adults from making their own choices. Now some choices people make- racially segregating bathrooms, serial killing, crack- are so harmful and stupid and just plain wrong that we can all agree (or almost all agree, maybe not if you're Rand Paul or Ted Bundy) that we have a moral obligation to do all we can to stop it. But many others have been shown to cause more problems when made illegal than they did beforehand.

Marijuana- Your mama smokes weed. Unlike legal alcohol, it is impossible to overdose on Marijuana; if anyone dies from weed, it's from getting really stoned and drag racing on the highway or something like that (not that weed causes people to want to drag race, mostly just order pizza and watch adult swim). Despite what propaganda commercials would have to believe, marijuana will not magically make you pregnant, and you won't shoot yourself in the face for kicks. The drug temporarily lowers your intelligence, reaction time, and inhibitions a bit, but not the way alchohol or other drugs do, rendering you a floppy mess, and it doesn't change your personality or make you do things you wouldn't do otherwise. Nor will you become irreparably insane; although, to be fair, like stress, abuse of even mild drugs (including caffeine) can sometimes trigger or worsen symptoms of pre-existing mental illness conditions. Weed is (with a few possible exceptions) the least addictive drug and, with very few and mild withdrawal symptoms, one of the easiest habits to break. Legalizing it would take revenue away from shady characters and college students and shift it to Business Hippies, make it higher quality and cheaper, and generate tax revenue. Not to mention all the medical benefits (see California) and possible renewed interest in Lava Lamps. Even better, it would stop sucking up taxpayer money and police time, as well as freeing up prison space for the real baddies.

Prostitution- Can you eradicate "the oldest profession" by making it illegal? Apparently not. Legalized/decriminalized prostitution both empowers sex workers by giving them legal rights and recourse against mistreatment (they can go to police for protection, they can form unions, etc) but it also gives "Johns" (and the rare "Mary") a safer, more ethical way to get their kicks- as opposed to picking up a 15 yo kid off the street, exchanging STDs, getting busted, and losing their Senatorial careers. Can legal prostitution still suck? Yes-but at least legalizing/decriminalizing sex work gives workers a voice, and vice squads can focus their energies on helping children, women, and men who are being victimized (as opposed to adults who choose and even enjoy sex work) by the truly horrifying exploitative sex slavery (and virtual sex slavery) practices that will remain very very illegal.

Guns- Waa? Huh? Yup, I said it... Oh, that Second Amendment. Why do we have that? I know- because back when our country was founded in an Indian Graveyard by a group of Enlightened bewiged Puritanical rebels attended on by African slaves, nobody knew what the fuck was gonna go down. Would the new goverment become tyrannical and take away South Carolina's slaves or Maryland's Catholicism? Who knew? The right to bear arms was not only so they could get their buff'lo huntin' and Injun killin' in on weekends, it was also so that the only people with guns wouldn't be The Man. And even though The Man now has the Atomic bomb (who can compete with that? Well, North Korea's trying to...), that's still important. Criminals will get guns. Making criminals of citzens who- even if they're wrong- feel they need a gun to protect themselves from criminals (or just cuz they wanna go deer hunting once a year) just seems like a bad call- especially when police officers (who all carry guns) have been known to fire into crowds of unarmed civilians, or just black people carrying cell phones. I'm not saying that people should shoot back, mind you; but I do believe that people should defend their right to defend themselves.


- aka the intersexed; people with nontraditional genitalia. This also applies to other Transgendered folks. Establishing a legal third gender status would not only be an affirmation of reality- some people, rarely, are born neither male nor female; others take advantage of surgery to alter their gender or simply use cosmetics and clothing to give that appearance- but it could also give them some protection from the ignorance-born predjudice they face daily. On the other hand, I suspect that some Intersex folks would choose the traditional binary in order to blend in to society better and not be singled out.

Gay Marriage

- this is just a no brainer.

Immigrants- People are just not gonna stop coming to America. And you can cry "they took our jobs!" all you want, but it's the illegal status of immigrants that makes it so they can work longer hours for less. If it were easier to become a citizen or legal migrant worker, with all the benefits that come with it (such as higher wages), I think it's quite probable that people would take advantage of that instead of risking deportation by remaining illegal. And as far as I'm concerned, immigrants enrich our culture- they start out poor, working hard at crappy jobs that Americans don't want, they send their kids to school, they introduce new cuisines, new language, new music- what's not to love?

Education- speaking of immigration, where does Arizona get off making it illegal to teach about non-whites? That is just fucking ridiculous. As it is, I've talked to many many racist people who truly believe that nothing at all of interest or value has ever occurred in the "uncivilized" parts of the world (the entire continent of Africa, most of Asia, the middle East, South America, and pre-European Invasion North America). This history is more likely to cause "division" in my view, because when minorities largely omitted, and thus are not important, are not valid. It reinforces & even institutionalizes ignorance-based (isn't it always?) racism- Black people have never accomplished anything! If they had, why aren't we learning about it in school? Clearly, they are inferior or they'd be in the textbook. As KRS-One says, "when one doesn't know about the other one's culture, ignorance swoops down like a vulture" (You Must Learn). And hey, white people, it's not just about "them", it makes us look bad too- when the positive accomplishments of European Americans in marching and dying alongside African Americans, Native Americans, and other non-whites, in fighting injustice are ommited it allows the already justifiably angry youth who senses the injustice of the system to "reverse" racism and feed into the "white devil" myth (that all white people are evil). More importantly, telling a school what they can and cannot teach is just crap- where will it end? We already can't teach evolution, can't teach sex- now we can't teach the History of Brown People? Does this mean we can't have a French club? What's wrong with just teaching the Truth? (by the way, I've heard that there is a Day of Solidarity with Arizona planned for the 29th, but thus far have not located a specific plan of action in Chicago.)


Activity: CopWatch

who has the authority, who owns the streets? the guys with the biggest guns? the uniformed thugs funded by your tax dollar, who do they answer to? This month, if you see the cops pulling someone over, stop and observe. write down what you see. send it to elephantzine@gmail.com, or to your alder(wo)man.


Happy 420!

This 420 season, take some time to fight for your freedom to smoke. 

Contact your Alderman, Congressperson, Senator, Governor, etc. (calling or writing is recommended, but you can even just be a lazy pothead and fill out an electronic form online that Dick Durbin's staff could possibly glance at!) and tell them what Marijuana Liberation means to you. 

Write to a political prisoner.  Here is a list of people who are in prison for using pot to help with their painful illnesses. Prison sucks, and these folks were sick to begin with, cheer 'em up with a bit of fan mail.  There are plenty of others not on this list that are facing unjust sentences.  You can use prison search websites to find & learn about immates if you know their names.

  Marijuana Law in Illinois basic info from NORML.

Earthquakes? Blame Vaginas.

"Many women who do not dress modestly ... lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which increases earthquakes,"" (Guardian UK)


Immigrant's Address: Cervantes Women

we are pleased to present the first poem in a series that were originally slated to be in an issue of Elephants dubbed the "where you're from" issue. It was going to be called the Immigrant's Address (as everyone, or nearly everyone, in our country came from somewhere else at some point). The first poem is from Cervantes Women. It's a really kickass poem by Jennifer Patino, a story of warrior teachers. Enjoy.


first, an explanation:

Hey guys, as you probably know, about a year ago we said we were gonna put out a 'zine called Immigrant's Address (where are you from?), and we never did. thing is, I still have all these poems, and I want to put them up somewhere to be read, despite the fact that we just never got it together with graphics and whatnot, for a variety of reasons, for which I take personal responsibility. anyway, I decided, fuck it, I'm just gonna put up the poems as I have them. I just wouldn't feel right if I didn't at least post the poems online, with or without a zine format with awesome graphics. So I'm gonna put up one a week for the next several weeks. They're really awesome poems and I thank everyone who submitted and everyone who worked so hard trying to get this together before it fell off track and got stuck in the ditch. Perhaps we can pick up where we left off some day, or start over... Much Love. Enjoy these kickass poems. -HK




From Cervantes Women

By Jennifer PatiƱo

“Take your notebook and sit down,” she says. “I will teach you how to write. Take your pencil in your hand and and start. Over and over again… Make the palos nice and straight. The bolitas nice and round.

| | | |
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These are the first exercises.” My mother watched her sisters do them.

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“You’re doing good, Jennita. We’ll get you ready for your first day of school.”

Teachers still needed bodyguards decades after Revolution, Rural education was slow to reach my mother’s ranch. Smart Indians would be a nuisance, Smart women might be worse. And everyone was too poor to invest the time.

Her sisters ran away and became teachers,

While Josefina, my mother, taught herself to read and write. With borrowed romantic serials, imagined conversations between pictures.

“Keep writing, don’t get distracted. I want you to do good in school. ----Tienes que aprender ingles.”

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oo oo
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To teachers with or without degrees, who craft our minds into bodyguards, To the Cervantes women, who are still teaching me who I am---

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| | | |

(You teach me the geometry that shapes every letter I will ever write.)




where on the spiral are you?

I need a moment... lopsided. how big is it? expanding. what is happening there? soap riots. machine gun fire. moldy lettuce on sale. shirt on fire. caustic investing in high risk parasites. dope fiend extravaganza. host relations. PTA reality show finals. who are all these people in the street behind you? them. some of them are children. look around you. violent bastards. more than just a blood disease. teasing reality There seems to be some sort of smoke- I am the complete lampshade...oh, yeah, there must be some kind of fire.... How will this affect the polls? they don't matter okay hey cut this guy's mic i can speak through seaweed no, just shut up, you are a disgrace sir. this is all being recordid. mail aligned clutter. we have to go to commercial old gold! recycle for profits! how can you dodge the IRS without a fiery red beard? Second Amendment Rally. The Scroll on the bottom of the Screen says Vacate. Terror Alert Mango. 259 days til the Rapture. No I can get around on my sassy wheelchair here. True Americans. Vicks Vapo Rub a dub dub. I promised I wouldn't wet myself, America. sporting a promising red tie & gym shozin I'm going to start working out that optic nerve. keep doin wat you're doin America. & I'll do mine. Snake Oil! Wet Naps! Remember the Alamo! We hope to see you at the Abstinence Orgy Bakesale Friday. Tickets now on sale on our website along with Copies of my Book, Yelling at the Top of My Lungs Next: Sailing to Sleep Terrors Tremors in Capital Wasteland Autobiohazard & more Star Wars don't switch that dial -elephants reporting


I found this on a site afiliated with something called the Humanists of Utah, when I was looking up why hamsters eat their young but got sidetracked when google autocompleted my sentence with "why can't I own a Canadian"? I thought this was great and decided to share:

Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. Recently, she said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by a east coast resident, which was posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:

When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15:19- 24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? - Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted fan,


South Side Paddy's Day Pub Crawl

TOMORROW! Ladies & Gents, they can take away our parade but they can never take away our freedom! through the magic of facebook a movement is assembling to have what may well be the largest (at over 3,000) pubcrawl in history take place in place of the traditional South Side Irish Parade. Drunks are to assemble at 103rd & Western at 12pm sharp on Sunday March 14th (but you can actually do what we'll likely be doing and start at 11am at 115th instead). There are 21 bars on Western ranging from Amazingly Awesome to At Least It's Cheap, and since no one will be expecting this you will likely be able to smuggle booze onto the metra train this year. Rowdiness is likely so be on your guard, don't get arrested! However, again there are lots of great bars on Western that will surely be glad for the business, not to mention great places to eat and shitloads of afterparties if you are a southsider or know one, which is really what it's all about (many southsiders contest that it was "tourists" who ruined the parade for everyone, although I surely don't put it past the southsiders themselves to have been behind some of the wanton destruction). Even the squares (aka my parents) are planning to continue the tradition of getting together with friends and family to celebrate an ever-more-distant heritage. So get your cheesy green together and come down to the South Side, celebrate what's good in life- friends, beer, and good cheer!


Yo, Streetwise! ...Slam Champ unClamp'd!

This is the extended (and way more ridiculous) interview w/Bonner as featured in Streetwise. It's essentially the same but crazier, sloppier & with more action. plus the swear words are spelled out. we think our internet audience can dig it. For a more refined, prettier, glossy version with lots of pictures &loaded with extra karma, visit your local Streetwise vendor (my two favorites hang out at LaSalle Street Station & DePaul). Enjoy.

Changing the Sigils

an interview with this year's Windy City Story Slam All-City Champ, Alex Bonner.

Helen Kiernan

   The biggest perk of winning the Windy City Story Slam All-City Championships (can you get a windier title than that?), says Alex Bonner, is that "next year me and Max [Glaessner, last year's Champ] get to stand up there with our belts and act ridiculous and no one else gets to."
  The "belt" Bonner refers to is an oversized, red-white-and-blue boxing-champ style belt with the Chicago Skyline on it. Upon emerging triumphant from the Double Door, the newly crowned Champ proceeds to wear the belt all night, of course (wouldn't you?), while his friends lean against a The Wall painted wall and crack wise about him going into bars wearing nothing but and demanding top-shelf comped since he's "King of the City now and shit", with "Married With Children" blaring in the background.

  In the weeks leading up to the competition, Bonner says, "I was just standing in my Grandmother's basement screaming at myself." His brother Brendon, sitting in the chair across from him, smiles and nods knowingly. "I'd go over and over it, making sure it wasn't confusing...take it apart, rewrite everything that didn't feel right until it felt better in my voice. Sometimes I was just punching the paper like 'Goddammit!'" he adds, laughing. To truly prepare for a Slam, of course, one needs the element that drives the Slam- an audience. So Bonner breathlessly practiced his stories ad naseum at friend's band shows and open mics across the city.
  "Writing for a Slam is different from trying to get published in literary journals...it's a little bit more like how I would write a poem...it's putting your ideas into action...I try not to be just funny, or just snarky, or just showy. I try to make it more of a combination...I like to start out by joking around a lot and then get really really weird and serious, and then end with a joke". After having gone through that tension, the audience laughs harder, he says.

Pipe Cutters & Time Travelers

  I first met Alex Bonner in a fiction class at Columbia College. His stories were a mix of mind-blowing, mystical science fiction and gritty, funny true stories involving tweaked-out pipecutters and time travelers.
As a kid, Bonner bounced around between North Carolina and Chicago; but, he says, "Chicago is home."
  When asked how he feels about winning, he says, "Well, y'know, I've always wanted to be on winning team...I've lost many All-City Championships, y'know?" he laughs, "I didn't really know there was going to be a prize or anything, so the laurel wreath is nice...it means something, you know?" after all the hard work that comes with the territory of being a struggling writer, he says, to win something, "that means a little bit."

A Literary Mosh Pit

  In typical egalitarian Slam fashion, the winner of the bout is chosen by audience approval; whoever screams the loudest. The "literary mosh pit" that is the Windy City Story Slam was created by boxer and Columbia grad/prof Bill Hillmann in 2007, after visiting Chicago's own Green Mill in Uptown, birthplace of the Poetry Slam. According to legend, Marc Smith (so what?) created the slam to get his drunk friends to listen to his poetry. Slam exploded the poetry scene in the 90s, turning the stereotypically droningly dull (or, more charitably, ethereal and moving but...quiet and polite) poetry read into a romping, stomping, roaring arena, launching poets like Saul Williams and Patricia Smith into the national spotlight and spawning several international competitions, many of them empowering voices that aren't typically listened to in stuffy, dusty academic forums; teenagers, outspoken queers, hip-hop artists; voices of the streets instead of the library.
Critics of the slam say that that slam poems can be low-brow, trite or unpolished; the language is simpler, more accessible, with more focus oftenput on the performance of the poem than the words.

  The beauty and curse of the Slam is that if the audience doesn't like it, they'll boo you, making many artists better (though scaring others away), and if the audience loves it, they'll howl, lending the poetry read more of a rock-n-roll atmosphere. In this way, the audience is invited to interact with the reader. And the judges are picked randomly from the audience, which means that anyone's opinion is as valid as the next person's, whether they be Poetry Professor or Construction Worker. Scores ranging from 10 to negative infinity are added up and the winner gets something like a box of twinkies, and braggin' rights. Some artists have moved away from the competitiveness that Slam breeds recently, saying that art is not a contest. Still, the true spirit of slam lies not in the win or lose but in losing one's inhibitions and screaming your guts out to a merciless roman arena.
  The Story Slam is a bit different but operates on the same basic philosophy, that "everyone's got a story". For one, there's the boxing theme, for another, the "judge" device is replaced by a simple "Applause-O-Meter" approach. A Story Slammer who is boring can be "cut" from the competition if the audience begins chanting "Blah Blah Blah!". Throughout the Finals performance, Hillmann often squatted at the side of the stage, sharpening what looked like two giant bowie knives.
  I was getting nervous," Bonner jokes, "'cus Bill was up there with this bowie knife tappin' the back of my head." This, it should be noted, was at the end of the show, when Bill was flourishing the knives over the heads of each participant as the audience cheered for their favorite. Aside from a couple of chuckles and roars, the audience was pretty damn quiet while Bonner was in the midst of spinning his piece, sucked into the sphere of the story.

The Butcher is In

  Indeed, the audience was unusually (for a slam) quiet throughout the final, with very little grumbling. Bonner says, "In early bouts you had to blablabla people offstage, or they'd just go on and on about nothing...but I dunno, I think the 'literary' crowd is a little different from...the poetry slams that spurned this a coupla years ago, that involved screaming and improv... they like to listen to the whole story and then come to a conclusion, and also this is not a rock show where you yell at the band, 'you're fulla garbage!' It's like I'm payin' 10 bucks to get in, why ruin the show? But that's not indicative of all [story] slams. A lot of the early ones took place at bars where no one knew what was going to happen. It was like a Roman arena, which is what it's all about, just regular people...in early bouts if you went over like 5 minutes 10 seconds you got kicked off the stage. But this is the finals, there's only five left, and the quality of the writing was really high, so Bill was more relaxed." And so was the audience.

  The biggest groan came when the first slammer, Fernando Hernandez, went on way too long (describing) taking a piss onstage (shaking the piss from his dick, etc.), as Bill crept up on him, knives flashing, and scattered audience members blahed while others cheered in protest of the blahers (or support of the slammer, or both). The tale round the campfire had Hernandez claiming he made up the whole story, which mostly involved an angry drunk midget, on the spot, totally free-balled it, which I believe wholeheartedly. Regardless, Hernandez had an undeniable fire behind him, and he was the last to fall under Hillmann's gleaming knives to audience screams.
  The other three readers, Nicolette Kittinger, Maggie Ritchie, and Alexis Thomas were weird, witty women, with gutsy pieces detailing working in a sex shop, being a narc, and other mystical wonderments.

This is the Truth!

  The worst part of the slam was the opening acts. I missed most of the band, White Mystery, which sounded decent, but no one wanted to hear Hemingway's grandson, however nice he may have been or how interesting his book on his transgender daddy sounds, go up on stage for two long-ass interviews, and the opening readers were less than awesome (actually, I liked one of them, she had some crazy shit to say about wanting to watch children burn or something, but at that point I just wanted to get to the action really). In a competition where one is meant to take cues from the audience, I wouldn't recommend screaming "this is the truth!" when you start to bore them, especially if you have nothing memorable to say over the strains of Moonlight Sonata. Not to name names, since I know the sting of falling flat on my face in front of a crowd and I have an ounce of mercy in me, but "that made me question the entire event that they had that guy go up" as Richard Dugan said. Next year, we'd like to see the slammers hit the stage an hour or two earlier, please, three-people-reading-this-who-have-nothing-to-do-with-planning-anything-but-maybe-will-pass-this-along-to-relevant-parties-for-us-if-we-offer-them-a nice-tasty-Peace-Tea-reward. Thanks.

Bringing the Noise

  Given the flawed nature of the "Applause-O-Meter" system, The Story Slam can become something of a popularity contest. "I didn't invite anyone to the first Slam, because I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it without 'Friend Support'", Bonner says. Not so for the finals, he continues, "which I guess I shouldn't say because in America you're supposta try to hide that you're trying to gain support, it's that typical hypocrisy, like 'I didn't do this, The Friends did it'... I mean a lot of my friends are artists so I want to go see as much as I can, art shows, bands, plays...and hopefully if you have something that means a shitload to you people will come out..."
  Bonner talks rapidly and energetically, sometimes gesticulating wildly or altering his voice to illustrate a point. It is difficult to get all his words down on paper fast enough. He often makes exaggerated statements, frequently referring to his views on what he jokingly terms "The Dark Side", and the need to create positivity in the world to combat it. He talks at length about his interest in Chaos Magic; that anything is possible, that you can make things happen by concentrating hard enough.
  "I never thought I'd be performing at the Double Door. A lot of people don't get to do that in their lives. I decided that I would."


  After working a series of mind-numbing jobs, Bonner tells me, he quit. He says he wanted to focus on his writing. "I realized I was not a cog, and I don't want to a cog in a big crazy machine, and nobody should be, it's the worst thing." In 2009, Bonner co-founded (with Felix Pineiro) Bailout Pictures, an independent film company based in Chicago.
  "With Bailout, we wanted to create a production company that could be an outlet for subversive films, as well as making some money, 'cus we gotta eat, too...But I do have a big belief in the need to work with small companies...I just wanna, I dunno, change the sigils that influence people...like you look out and see the giant McDonald's arches, you know, that control people, that take our identity... our generation is the first that can really see the tools of control and turn them on the oppressors and the machine...Bailout is our attempt to make something. Something of quality. Something other than...Transformers...'Buy our fine, heavy product with a serious radio and cupholders for your McDonald's and Pepsi Products and your 15 million dollar jetfighter!'"
  Bailout produces a variety of commercial films. The company's mission statement reads, in part: "We want to create films...that are a little more dynamic and, dare we say, hip. However, if you have a certain look for your business, we will match it (even if it IS square)". No matter how Square the production, Bonner says, they always try to "mess with" the audience's conceptions. In a recent commercial for Fantasy Costumes, Robert Hines, dressed as a pimp, scolds the camera, "I coulda been a doctor in this you know."
  Bonner notes that on TV, you don't often see African Americans portrayed as "slick, cool, intelligent", but typically, like Tracy Jordan, "crazy pants, not debonaire...even though I fucking love Tracy Jordan, but you know what I mean..."
  "Even if we're shooting a commercial," he continues "we try to mess with them [the audience] a little bit", Bonner says, "get them to think about what they're buying, why they're buying it...we just try to mess with their reality a little bit...I mean it's not like I'm a genius or anything," he quickly clarifies, "I mean we're not geniuses, we're not Shakespeare, we're too TV. But we have an ideology, and a lot of people who are willing to work for free....we're just tryin' something, with some relative success....not just protesting, but making something.... we're just trying." And after all, sometimes that's all you can do. Try something.

Transformers: Robots in Disguise

  Expanding on the Transformers metaphor, Bonner says "If anything, Bailout is more like Transformers the TV show than the movie, but I dunno if I wanna say that, but I like the idea that, 'maybe kids will buy these toys if there's a super-epic story attached to it'. And it's so dark. I mean the toys are fun but...so dark...it's this whole weird thing where adults wish they were inside the womb, like 'help me! I'm an American! I can't do anything by myself!"
  The solution, as Bonner sees it, is to cultivate an intelligent and innovative approach to art, media, even advertising. And people are doing that, he says. "Colbert is the Voltaire of our time. He openly mocks his sponsors, 'Verizon Wireless: Now in Wylde Raspberry!"

Chaos Magick

  When asked what his concept of reality is, Bonner laughs, "that's the problem, I'm driving myself slowly insane...like I really believe in Magick."
Bonner goes on to tell me about the 4th resonance, which has something to do with Einstein, and how maybe 99.9% of the phenonana act like it's supposed to, but there's that .1% of time that just can't be explained by science, and how that shook the world of philosophy, that you think therefore you are in dreams, after all, and even though you can't prove it, you can't disprove it either, so every law is possible... Scribbling furiously, it's hard to keep up with this dizzying array of theory. I had the idea to look it up for the article, but I'm pretty exhausted at this point.... you can do that, can't you? I mean, if you're really interested. Let me know what you find out...

  In fact, there's been several drunken nights when Bonner, and others who think like him, have tried to explain to me about why they believe in magick, and willing things to happen, and how 2012 is going to be the time when the world does not end but a huge shift is coming, either in human energy, output, positivity, or something like alien visitation....I used to make fun of these postulations. Raised Catholic, I wasn't a big fan of bullshit posturing and the supernatural. But nowadays, I just wanna listen. Because, who really knows? Shit, if it gets you through the day and you're not stoning homosexuals over it, go forth and prosper.
  So, I ask, what practical applications does Chaos Magick have? Well, he says, "there's that Vonnegut quote; we are who we pretend to be. So be careful who you pretend to be." And there you have it. If only more mainstream religions made that much sense.

  But I hope chaos magicians won't be offended if I don't buy into actualization as magic. Because when Bonner says that he visualizes success and it happens, it reminds me of working at Borders and the Oprah-worshipers grasping for copies of the Secret from their sinking ships. I think you win a slam because you fucking practiced a shit-ton, not because you wanted it harder than anyone else.

  But hell, maybe there is something magick, or at least unexplained, at work here; because just like the rest of us poor pathetic slobs who calls ourselves writers, no matter how bad, you, gentle reader, might think we suck, Bonner just has that special something, that drive, that itch, that fucking addiction. "I've always written" he says, "I've always been a writer. I had to let myself know I wasn't a musician."

Word Junky

  "And I like adventures, and good times, and I have addiction problems" he jokes, when asked to describe himself, "I flirt with the dark side, I'm a liar..." (which, as far as I'm concerned, is total bullshit) "Well, there's good and bad addictions," he says, asked to elaborate, "Writing is a good addiction. Like I'm on a family vacation and I'm just like 'I just wanna write, leave me alone!' And smoking's not good for you, but I don't wanna be one of those fuckers who don't smoke, cause fuck those assholes" he laughs. Bonner says he tries to avoid the bad addictions- drugs he knows might fuck him up, video games. "If I spent half the time I spent on video games, I dunno, learning how to fix cars or some shit, I'd have a different life, but hey man, video games have influenced my writing and helped me connect with my generation. It's not a passing fad. There's a lot of vivid poetry and soul in video games."

  I ask him if all this technology isn't making people farther apart and he says no, not if "these kids can build things with their lightning minds to bring positivity to humanity to the earth, instead of moving into darkness, contributing to money machines and oil wars."

  So instead of bemoaning technology, we use it to our advantage. Like Bailout, making commercials, but making them a little bit edgier, hoping to work for the little guy and milk the big guy for what he's worth to make subversive films. Bonner also recently started a blog, the Buddha Lunchbox, gushing about the Olympics, poking fun at Hollywood, and paying tribute to Our Corporate Overlords.

2012: The Next Revolution?

  " It would be great" he continues, "if these kids could make some lightning fast computers and we were all flying around in super awesome spaceships... just to prove humans are worth a shit cuz our parents dropped the ball. They shot everyone who asked those questions; King, Lennon. We've been told for years and years and years that we're better than tribes, that humans have a rightful ownership over the earth and other people, a right to kill people, because it's cool. How can I describe it?When I go outside I see people enjoying their lives...taking their pills to be happy and darting in all these different directions searching for purpose and meaning or some shit... and that's capitalism's concession prize, okay so you might hate your life but look you can have all these creature comforts like TVs ,sofas...I dunno, I mean there's gotta be a balance between crappy hippy dirty and suit clean big fast shiny, can't we just like combine the two? It would be great if on 2012 everyone just quit their jobs and focused on changing the world to the positive."

  I ask Bonner if he believes this is possible, and he laughs and says, yes, "The Dark Side can't always win".





The Great South Side Irish Riot

Five simple ways to prevent the South Side Irish Pub Crawl (3/14, 12pm, 103rd & Western) from turning into a full-scale riot:

(1) Don't get stupid wasted & illegal all over the street. The cops are going to roll out the "paddy" wagons; don't let them fill them. this year, let's celebrate our (varyingly dubious) Irish heritage with some dignity. Confine your naturally modest drinking to private property and bars. REMEMBER, DRIVING DRUNK IS WORSE THAN EATING LIVE BABIES IN FRONTA YR GRAMMA & THE POPE. Try to avoid getting caught by cops pissing in alleys, which will be difficult due to lack of portapotties. To avoid possible heat, take shady activities (like blunt-smoking) a few blocks away from the main area of revelry.

(2) Don't resist arrest. many riots begin when someone resists arrest. if you fucked up, take one for the team and go quietly, so the rest of us can get on with it (it being reckless drinking of course).

(3) Don't trespass, steal or destroy property. a big part of the reason the parade was canceled was because local businesses and residents got sick of crazy drunken tourists (and fellow residents) trashing the place. If it's not your shit, don't touch it. and for the love of god don't wander into other people's backyards; they may be armed.

(4) Avoid sexual harassment. Straight boys: don't grab, taunt, or otherwise threaten women, as they will enlist the help of several nearby sisters, boyfriends, and/or muscular lesbian buddies in kicking your ass and the asses of anyone else who gets in the way, igniting a massive barroom brawl that will spread like the Chicago Fire until the National Guard is called in. Instead, channel your drunken horniness into clever, witty, bondesque banter; comment on the sparkling personality, aesthetic grace, and probable high intelligence of nearby females, who will thus find you irresistible and likely drag you off to the nearest vacant bathroom stall for make-outs.

(5) Watch your buddies. you won't be able to prevent idiots you don't know from doing fucked up shit, but you can at least drag your stupid drunk idiot friend back into the bar. Don't let your idiot friends OD during the pub crawl, as their bloated body may cause hazardous blockage of available fire exits, leading to utter chaos and trampling deaths.


Glory in the Bastard Song

barefoot wandering poet of the Harlem Renaissance, Richard Bruce Nugent would scribble words on paper and toss them in the wastepaper basket of "Nigeratti Manor", Langston Hughes would fish them out of the trash, and Alain Locke would publish them. the only openly-gay man in a closeted circle, Nugent's writings are as bold and honest as they are playful...and contemplative. "Smoke Lillies and Jade" is a bohemian story exploring desire. In "Bastard Song", written for a lover, Nugent takes on the color complex. an excellent book about Nugent is "Gay Rebel of the Harlem Renaissance" which from the vivid if fading memory of hours of fascination in the library, encompasses much of his writing, a kickass bios, at least one interview (he lived well into his 80s) and some of the kickass art that graced the pages of Fire!! and other renaissance papers.

from Smoke Lillies and Jade: He wanted to do something…to write or draw...or something...but it was so comfortable just to lay there on the bed...his shoes off...and think...think of everything...short disconnected thoughts...to wonder...to remember...to think and smoke...why wasn’t he worried that he had no money...he had had five cents...but he had been hungry...he was hungry and still...all he wanted to do was...lay there comfortably smoking...think...wishing he were writing...or drawing...or something...something about the things he felt and thought...but what did he think...he remembered how his mother had awakened him one night...ages ago...six years ago...Alex...he had always wondered at the strangeness of it...she had seemed so...so...so just the same...Alex...I think your father is dead...and it hadn’t seemed so strange...yet...one’s mother didn’t say that...didn’t wake one at midnight every night to say...feel him...put your hand on his head...then whisper with a catch in her voice...

Bastard Song for H.F

Since I am neither truly one, nor really true the other,
Can you not see that I must be the third-the first two's brother?
For it is true I am not black and just as true not white,
But when the day gives sudden way, dusk stands 'tween it and night
And dusk is just as true a thing as either night or day
And if the dusk smells faint of musk, turn not its scent away-
Night perfumes dusk's pallor-day etiolates the night:
My love for you is love for you though neither black nor white.
Yes, it's love I offer you and hope that you will keep.
This love you see is true, from me;--but no--it is to weep,
For you-pale white-cannot trust love from whom you've loved too long
And yet deride with untaught pride-my love is far too strong
So what thing can I offer you? What gift is there to give?
Not even dreams, or so it seems-for you refuse to live.
So this I offer you is weak with right and wrong--
Half dark, half light, half black, half white--a truly Bastard Song.


how to tell if someone is a douchebag just by looking at them....

and other great shit at buddhalunchbox

here's a sample:

"After a robot told me in a very classy and placid voice that my phone call may be recorded for "customer service purposes" I then hit fifteen different commands on my cell that I believed would direct me to the wizard.
Emsa: Hello this is Emsa with customer service, how can I assist you?
ME: I want to talk to Stevey.
Emsa: Excuse me?
ME: I'd like to talk to my father Steven Jobs. "

=noise extrava-gander=



"Februrary 1st (930-4am) at The Rockbox (2624 N Lincoln) will be a blow out. Featured readers include Matt Anderson, Alex Bonner, Nicole Wilson, and a selected recording of James Schuyler's "The Crystal Lithium." You don't want to miss this poetry event, that would not be okay. Watch the February gloom transform in poetry's beautiful eyes. The open mic list is stacked with talent, come and put your name down. Bring work by your favorite poet and your own. As always, $3 drafts and $4 Jameson shots, 21+. iloveyou" -Joe


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Beat the Block: Ride the SOC

The SOC is the mad acid highway of jumbled brain wires in yr skull. Stream of Consciousness writing, also called freewriting, taps into your subconscious by beating and drugging your internal editor and shoving him (he is definitely a him, as in The Man, Getting You Down), gagged and ducttaped, into the closet, where he'll probably beat off in exstacy. now I'm no refined, pedigreed, medal-bedecked literary giant, just a dirty, starving word junky; but this is a great way to get a fix as well as a fucking amazing high. it's also something a lot of the legends exercised. and it's fun to do when yr board (that is not a spelling error, i meant to say when one is being a board, for commercial porpoises).


rules for free-writing (bone-based)

(1) keep yr hand/fingers moving. do not stop, pause, hesitate for any reason, least of all to think.

(2) if you fuck up, leave it and keep moving. no editors allowed in this groovy clubhouse.

(3) set a time limit or page limit, and force yourself to keep going to that point, even if it drains all the juice from you.



i am high flying water oh ah oh eh hahaha nevermind munchkin kin ya feel it stop stop type faster faster harder harder errrrr i meanet error mcgovern mcmelon i said it was a gloombasement, base meat, stuck in walls like rats clawing like ratkin raking all of my dissent, decent, descent, scent scat scattking shitshit shitballs i mean COME ON COME ON. there was a riot a rat descent we burnt bridge b we falter fated altercated is this catered? come one. come call. to hip too fall. fuck it. lets revolutionize yr hair. THINK THIN! shit shit shit....my mother can cum fatster than STOP IT! Dirty dirty bad bad dont talk my mama like that is bad. secfret secret shupt shit. fuckt it up. this is bad example time for peepholes. is bad robot. no is bood cut leader. sneezer kneses, happy redskin, shut it. this is bad, keep bleeding. one more min to go before i hit the scarfoffogus. scrape the inside of my upperlip for food poisons. i meant to say meatantther tholl. doll. maybe youcan sex me up good this time, hahaha that is dumb. de dum dum dum. i slit my wrist to say howdy to mitochondria living in fashionable dining rooms inside. faster saster. shitshitshisthshististhistishi THIS IS SERIOUS! i am going to force feed you fruit looops. the king dom cometh for only the most inflexible rubber devices. shut yr stupid fucking pie hole. i am done here.


as you can see, terrible psychobabble. however, in creating it, you're stretching my mind, and just as a runner stretches out, so must a writer. note that i stopped too early- things were just getting interesting- and also that it takes a lot of bad shit to get a few good lines in these. Note also the sexual/violence free-for-all. Free Association, a similar, oral version of this exercise, is used by physcoanalists (fraudians) to root out fucked up subconscious desires like father stabbing and mother fucking in patients. of course, variations on such horrid, embarrassing themes lurk in the back of most of our minds, and as writers we must learn to write about that which embarrases us, cuz ppl love that shit.


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