October, 2016 Archive

Asylum of Fear: The Creative Process Behind Haunted Attractions

haunted attractions

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

No Small Ponce: The Only Disability Is Perception

No Small Ponce - Down syndrome

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

9 Myths about Blindness Dispelled (By Someone Who Knows Firsthand)

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’ Signals the End of Network Television

Stranger Things

‘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

We Aren’t Clowning Around about Coulrophobia


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

In Search of Ghosts Aboard the Haunted ‘Queen Mary’

Queen Mary

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

The Monster Drawing Mash: 6 Artists Crushing It

monster drawing

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

Mad Science for Singles: Italian Sausage Stew Recipe

Italian sausage stew recipe

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

The Ultimate Horror Documentary

horror documentary

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

TITWRENCH: This Is What Feminist Art Looks Like

feminist art

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