This is Halloween — this is Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! Halloween!
Man, I love October. The leaves changing, the beautiful fall weather and of course the spooks, ghosts, haunts and all the things that go bump in the night coming out to play.
Crixeo is no different. This month’s issue will take you through the beating heart of the “Asylum of Fear” as we look at the creative process behind haunted attractions. For the truly adventurous, we’ll go for a pulse-pounding romp “Into The Forgotten: The Spooky World of Urban Exploration.” If clowns are your thing — or more accurately, if they aren’t your thing — we’ll journey into the psychology of coulrophobia, the fear of clowns. Learn from Dr. Doug McKinley why the jocularities of those painted jesters make you want to hide under the sheets. And, for the paranormal investigator in all of us, check out my article on the most haunted ship in America as I spend a night “In Search of Ghosts aboard the Haunted Queen Mary.”
But October isn’t just about Halloween. It also happens to be Blindness Awareness Month. Which means it’s a great time to have “9 Myths About Blindness Dispelled (By Someone Who Knows Firsthand).” October is also Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Our friends Scott Allen Perry (SAP) and Josh “The Ponceman” Perry have cowritten an article that shows “The Only Disability Is Perception.”
There’s so much in this issue that I encourage you to explore every corner. Look in the closets, under the bed and in the attic. You might even find a TITWRENCH.
These haunted attractions will bring your worst nightmares to life. As I moved deeper through the rooms of the house, they became less familiar. The darkness was obviously creeping in, to the point that I didn’t want to keep going. When I had to leave the bedroom through the girl’s closet, I knew trouble lurked in the next room…the attic. Pushing open bookcases, opening trunks and moving through the house in between the walls is not something you can prepare for before entering the HellsGate Haunted House. I love haunted attractions and all the fun, creepy things about them. As an October baby, I grew up celebrating birthdays with a haunted theme. I even created my own “haunt” in the basement, complete with eyeballs (peeled grapes) and brains (spaghetti). I enjoyed amusement parks with fun houses or the Haunted Mansion at Disney World, but my absolute favorite haunted attractions were …read more
Chances are, you’ve seen Josh ‘The Ponceman’ Perry in your favorite films. He’s a phenomenal comedic and dramatic actor. He also has Down syndrome. Scott Allen Perry (AKA SAP) here... Let’s not beat around the bush. It only delays saying the thing everyone is waiting to hear and it’s no fun for the bush. My brother, Ponce, has Down syndrome and he is in no way bothered by the term retarded — what some would like to call the R-word. The thing is, it’s just a word. Words have power when we give them power. And to Ponce, that word is a wimp. When someone wants to be cruel, they’ll use any words they can to succeed in unleashing their cruelty. Why give them ammunition with a list of banned words? It’s better to arm the child with knowledge. Yes, ignorant, cruel, sad people are out there who deal with their own …read more
Let’s clear up some assumptions about blindness. When people see me with my white cane or guide dog, the average bystander operates under a certain set of assumptions to interact with me. While I’m not offended by these assumptions, I do feel a responsibility as a member of the blind community to debunk a few myths about blindness. Myth #1: We can’t see. Joy Thomas. Photo by Morry Angell, Guide Dogs for the Blind. People are often puzzled when they see me, cane in hand, using my eyes to look at my phone at the store but then feeling around to locate my giant shopping cart. It is confusing, even to me at times. Many don’t realize there’s a spectrum of blindness. It’s estimated that only 10 percent of those in the blind community are completely blind without any light perception. The other 90 percent have varying degrees of vision, ranging from seeing shapes …read more
‘Stranger Things’ is a new kind of entertainment for a smarter audience. Amaris, my best friend and roommate, is the authority on new indie sci-fi / horror / supernatural media. She binge watches instead of sleeping more often than she’ll admit. So when Stranger Things dropped on Netflix she was already cornering me with “No, Rosey, you absolutely need to see this.” Now this was before the social media explosion the show created (the Barb-pocalypse, as it were), so I didn’t have much to go on other than Netflix’s new promo gifs at the top of the page. I’m going to start this essay off skipping the experience of pretty much inhaling the eight-episode season and go right to what I thought about it. Like most of the population, I thought it was really damn good. But not just the standard of good. There was something about this show that …read more
No joke: lots of people suffer from coulrophobia, the fear of clowns. The same characters we call clowns, who are meant to entertain and make us laugh, surprisingly are the object of a phobia known as coulrophobia. No joke: thousands of humans are afraid of clowns. Let’s break it down. When there is persistent, irrational, intense fear of a specific activity, situation or object, such as clowns, it is labeled a “specific phobia.” Psychologists classify these, under a category called anxiety disorders, as simple phobias. Have you ever wondered what makes people anxious about clowns? Your average 1950s “feel-good” circus clown. Photo by H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images. Coulrophobia, the fear of clowns, is a neologism (made-up term) coined to capture the number of people who express having anxiety about clowns. If you stop and think about it, it is not a huge deductive leap to guess why coulrophobia has such a relatively high …read more
Would you spend a night on a haunted ship? The prospect of spending a night aboard the Queen Mary, the most haunted ship in America, is either a dream come true or a nightmare, depending who you ask. When my wife and I had the opportunity to explore the eerie corridors and historic decks of a ship bigger than the Titanic, we jumped at the chance. The Queen Mary has been in operation in one form or another since the 1930s, and her crooked hallways, elegant staterooms and magnificent engine room are bound to have their fair share of haunts, especially when you consider her rich history. Photo by Ullstein Bild via Getty Images. On May 27, 1936, the Queen Mary embarked on her maiden journey. For three years she was the grandest ocean liner in the world and the talk of Tinseltown. Elites of all kinds, from Bob Hope to Clark Gable, the …read more
Monster drawing is making a comeback, and we’re gobbling up the kooky designs of these 6 artists. Most people who grew up anytime after 1971 are familiar with Jon Stone’s beloved bedtime story The Monster at the End of This Book. And for some, listening to that book time after time, night after night, that lovable Grover monster drawing just may have gotten into their heads. And remained there. Grover and his other monster friends are partly to blame for Christopher McMahon’s monster obsession. Well, Sesame Street, along with Star Wars, Gremlins, Hayao Miyazaki comic books, video games and Saturday morning cartoons. You could say the ’70s and ’80s were ripe for producing artists destined for monster drawing and creating other monster-themed crafts. “There’s a mishmash of art and pop culture in some corner of my brain that I probably draw from, mostly stuff that was burned into my psyche as a …read more
Cooler weather calls for hearty Italian sausage stew. Welcome to my lab. With each Mad Science entry, I provide a recipe and a hint to personalize your dish by changing up some of the ingredients. This month I have a simple, quick Italian sausage stew recipe that you can dish up in just 30 minutes. Make this Italian sausage stew recipe your own with mad science. Let’s get started. Italian Sausage Stew A simple and hearty recipe for one 2 Italian sausages — mild, sweet or hot, whatever you like — chopped into 1-inch pieces 1 crushed garlic clove 1 carrot, chopped 1 zucchini, chopped 1 tomato, chopped 1 cup spinach leaves 2 cups beef or vegetable broth 1/2 teaspoon each dried thyme, basil and rosemary dash of Worcestershire sauce Salt and pepper to taste 1/2 cup sherry Parmesan cheese Sauté Italian sausage in a small amount of olive oil until done. Remove with a …read more
Horror documentary ‘Fear Itself’ reveals philosophy behind scares. “Tiny specks of light become spirits. The smallest hint of movement is an intruder, ready to attack.” As a woman narrates these words in Fear Itself, a new horror documentary from 24-year-old filmmaker Charlie Lyne, a scene from Post Tenebras Lux drifts across the scene. A child meanders through a muddy field, flanked by dogs, a haunting dusk sky in the background. It’s an obscure film, albeit a 2012 Cannes winner for best director, but one that underscores Lyne’s zeal for finding meaningful connections in this film essay dedicated to horror’s emotional impact. You might not have seen Post Tenebras Lux, but you know the terror Lyne is describing. To Lyne, horror’s appeal is not just those “shocking moments in a film that are intriguing,” he says in an interview from his London home, “but what stayed with me more were those …read more
Experimental music festival pushes boundaries, amplifies marginalized voices in a genuine feminist art forum. The phrase “This Is What a Feminist Looks Like” has never been more interesting and inclusive than right now. In this case, it’s “This Is What Feminist Art Looks Like,” and it comes in the form of a music festival nestled in Denver, Colorado, called TITWRENCH. TITWRENCH embodies a feminist art that so many books, movements and even T-shirts have been trying to accomplish for decades. Now reaching audience numbers of 500-plus, this DIY — or DIT (do it together), as founder Sarah Slater and TITWRENCH community members like to say — festival is not an exclusive music fest with any hierarchy in place. Instead, TITWRENCH is “a mission-driven project. Our focus is on building community, creating conversation and inspiring collaboration for women and LGBTQIA artists pushing boundaries of genre and form,” said Slater. It is …read more
How some Burners are taking the principles of Burning Man to the ‘default world’ and making it a better place. There’s one thing I’ve heard over and over when talking about Burning Man with people who’ve been there. “It’s a life-changing experience.” The official Burning Man web page explains it like this: “Once a year, tens of thousands of people gather in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert (also known as “the playa”) to create Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. They depart one week later, having left no trace whatsoever.” Burning Man is an event. Burning Man is an art party. Burning Man in an experiment in community. At the core of Burning Man are 10 principles: Radical Inclusion, Gifting, Decommodification, Radical Self-Reliance, Radical Self-Expression, Communal Effort, Leaving No Trace, Civic Responsibility, Immediacy and Participation. Boiled down, these things mean creating as utopian a …read more
In the third installment of our exclusive look at the life of grappling legend Booker T, the entertainer opens up about his efforts to save at-risk youth — by tossing them into the ring to become wrestlers. I was getting scammed and I knew it. I didn’t come from a wrestling family. My brother got into it more or less at the same time I did, so there was no uncle or father to push me in front of a promoter and tell them I could draw money. I had to prove it myself. And cold-calling people isn’t going to do it. Getting slammed on your ass is your audition. So I signed up for a school — a crash course for pro wrestlers. It was $3,000 for eight weeks. Believe me when I tell you, you cannot learn how to wrestle in eight weeks. It’s impossible. I did it because it was …read more
Looking for a zombie series to read this season? Plunge into this FREEview. Prologue: Zombie Picnic The graveyard is calm at this hour, an appropriately full moon shining down on acres of freshly mown lawn and miles of evenly spaced headstones. Their endless rows are surprisingly calming; it’s almost like I’m staring at a big mouth with thousands of teeth smiling just for me. Though the air is chilly this time of year, it’s clear, making everything clean, crisp, and high-resolution — death in hi-def. I always thought this was a particularly nonspooky cemetery as far as cemeteries go. Most of the ones you see on TV or in the movies are purposefully creepy crawly, gruesome affairs, with crooked headstones leaning and fences broken and the graves overgrown with dried, dead bushes and looking, I suppose, about the way you figure a cemetery should look. Here in Florida, they take their graveyards …read more
‘Searching for Sugar Man’ documentary shows magic behind myth of obscure singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez. It’s the ultimate fairy tale: a singer-songwriter in the late ’70s fades into obscurity. He retreats and becomes a construction worker. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to him, he becomes a musical icon in South Africa. And via the Academy Award–winning documentary Searching for Sugar Man, he becomes known in the rest of the world. This isn’t fantasy; it’s the story of the Mexican-American singer-songwriter Sixto Diaz Rodriguez. When does an artist become a myth? Jim Morrison (The Doors) and Kurt Cobain (Nirvana) became invincible after their premature deaths. Some artists fade into obscurity until they’re magically rediscovered. The dental-hygienist-turned-folksinger Linda Perhacs debuted Parallelograms in 1970 and was rediscovered in 2007 when indie artist Devendra Banhart asked her to sing on his record and Daft Punk used her ballad “If You Were My Man” for the film Electroma. British …read more
Kay Pike, Cosplay Body Paint Artist / Superhero
Kay Pike was a cosplayer until congenital arthritis in her hips made it impossible to sit for hours to sew costumes. Then she discovered body painting. Now, in addition to displaying cosplay body paint techniques at conventions, she cospaints live at Twitch every Wednesday and Saturday. With lots of paint, patience and charm, she captures her devoted and growing audience while transforming into superheroes and villains, such as Colossal Titan, Iron Man, Thanos, Captain Marvel, Cheetara and many more.
Meet artist, photographer, baker and internet sensation Christine McConnell. Surrounded by the accoutrements of midcentury domestic bliss, she welcomes Instagram followers into her glamorous world — with a delicious horrific twist.
How two great countries changed the face of animation, comics, TV and film. Popular culture has produced some of the best collaborations in modern history. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Then there’s America and Japan. Cultural boundaries aside, some incredible work has sprung from these two countries. From anime to comics, film and television, Japanese culture has made meaningful contributions to America’s many art forms — and vice versa. These “dynamic duos” changed not only the course of history but the way we rock, laugh, cry, think and feel. They’re the best of friends, the most passionate of lovers, and their offspring is still evolving just this side of the 21st century into subtle objects of beauty we have yet to name. Anime in America It started in the late ’70s with Battle of the …read more
All hail Iris Apfel, unofficial fashion icon. Every year the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) gives the Fashion Icon Award to someone who stands out for their style and individuality. Past winners include Sarah Jessica Parker, Kate Moss, Rihanna and Johnny Depp. This past year, Fashionista editors playfully nominated Iris Apfel for the Fashion Icon Award but it was Beyoncé who took home the statue (which, to be fair, is completely appropriate). It’s sort of inconceivable that Iris Apfel hasn’t been recognized yet, so perhaps it’s time we petition the CFDA to name her the Fashion Icon of 2017. If you don’t know who Iris Apfel is, doubtless her name sounds vaguely familiar — or at the very least, you would probably recognize her if you saw her. Despite not being a designer for a large fashion house, an editor of a fashion magazine or a model, she …read more
Urban exploration taps into our instinct to uncover mysteries in the abandoned spaces around us, but this brand of adventuring is not for the fainthearted. On YouTube you can find a video covering just about any topic. Makeup tutorials. Video game play-throughs. People sitting and smiling into the camera for hours. But in one special corner of YouTube you’ll discover a group of brave individuals armed with respirators and cameras and exploring abandoned motels, factories and dead shopping malls. Urban exploration on YouTube channels like This is Dan Bell, Exploring With Josh and Kentucky Urbex takes us into places most people would avoid traipsing into alone on an overcast night. Exploring with Josh, abandoned federal gold exchange bank But have you ever walked down a city street, maybe not in the best part of town, and noticed a building cordoned off with police tape or covered in bright Condemned signs? Did you want to click on your phone’s …read more
Theater brewpubs are tapping into a sense of brew and view adventure and reviving interest in going to the movies. As the Alamo Drafthouse prepared to tap a new summer brew, John Gross began to worry whether it would sell. Sure, pizza-flavored beer sounded like a good idea on paper. And in spirit there was no better beverage to pair with the opening of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows than It’s Pizza Time! — an IPA infused with basil, oregano, thyme, fennel, jalapeños and pineapple. Kevin Eastman, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic, had even helped craft the beer, which was brewed by Stone Brewing in California. But Gross, director of national beer promotions for the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, wondered whether customers seeing Out of the Shadows or other movies would actually drink what he had to pour. Sometimes Alamo partners with breweries to create special releases …read more
The music of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds carried me through the biggest challenges of my life so far and showed me the ferocious power of art. Last summer, I was more adrift than I’ve ever been in my life, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ music was one of my few buoys. I had lost most of my birth family due to a family history of violence and their inability to accept my mental health problems and transgender status. I had thrown myself into a marriage that was wrong for me and made it my whole world. When it ended abruptly and painfully, I found myself leaving the city I’d lived in most of my life, moving to the top of a mountain to work as a baker in a wealthy resort and listening to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds on a daily basis. Their music and my cat were the few things that …read more
We’re adulting so hard with these 10 must-watch adult cartoons. Let’s face it. Cartoons have a very wide, colorful appeal. For most, cartoons are a highway to those cherished childhood memories in front of the TV (or its 21st-century equivalent). However, the best cartoons straddle the line between kids’ fare (a sense of whimsy) and adult humor (mature content). Disney’s Steamboat Willy changed the game by finally combining animation with sound as Mickey Mouse whistled along the river. That was back in 1928. Walt Disney Productions Today animation pushes the creative boundaries even further. Many cartoons are simply not aimed at kids. They’re strictly for adults. (Ahem, Brenden Concord 14 — let’s hope parents have forgiven you for the Sausage Party trailer in front of Finding Dory.) Many adult cartoons go to very strange places that would be embarrassing to explain to a kid under the age of 17. By adult, though, we’re not necessarily talking …read more
Buffalo, New York, is known for its recession, but its enduring art scene is reviving the city. They call it the Skyway: a massive overpass that twists through the air, carving a path between 20-story buildings and the shores of Lake Erie. Try driving on it in January, when the city of Buffalo, New York, is likely to be blanketed in snow, battered by subzero winds, and fresh off a less-than-satisfactory NFL season. At any given moment someone somewhere in that city is saying, “Next year. Next year will be ours.” That has been the story of Buffalo, New York, for a while now. Next year. Next year the Bills will win the Super Bowl. Next year the winter will be mild; there will be no Snowpocalypse; there will be no traffic pile-ups on the 90. Next year there will be jobs, there will be growth, the city will wake up. Buffalo: it is …read more