An Interview with Oswald “Ozzie” O’Connor

jailbaitoncrackle4

Oswald “Ozzie” O’ Connor has been serving hard time since being arrested for trying to buy marijuana for his cancer stricken father. Charged with 2 felony charges, possession, and possession with intent to sell he now resides in State Prison. In this exclusive interview we are bringing you the reader a glimpse into what drives a man to crime.

What was your childhood like? What was it like growing up O’Connor?

Nothing unusual to report. Indian Guides, Pinewood Derby, some sexual contact with a teenage neighbor who was baby sitting. Once I found a baby Possum near my house. I convinced my mother to help me nurse it back to health. We fed it milk from an eyedropper but ultimately we discovered it had rabies.

What was running through your mind when you were first arrested? Was it a set up or just an honest mistake?

It was a confluence of things. My father told me he had cancer and needed marijuana to treat his side effects. I didn’t know this at the time but his cancer was self diagnosed using google. It turned out he did not have cancer but I didn’t know that at the time. Using an old high school friend’s contacts, I procured 2 ounces of pot. I was pulled over for a traffic violation and the officer found it. The judge thought my father’s cancer story was a lie I was making up. My father was called to testimony denied memory of the whole thing. The judge threw the book at me and the rest is history…or will be after I write my autobiography.

Are you yourself an advocate for the benefits of marijuana?

I don’t know. I suppose. I was in California before I was arrested and I had some medical marijuana there and it freaked the shit out of me. I mean Jesus Christ! In college we would smoke it up and watch Dune. Now you have one hit and it’s like you’re tripping on acid re-evaluating your life with your skin turned inside out. It just goes to show you that Tesla was right — “just because something is better doesn’t mean it’s good.”

Are there any little known things about you that our readers might be surprised to learn?

In 7th grade I visited my friend in Florida. We went to the beach when it was kind of stormy and I was stung on the ass by a man o’ war. It hurt like hell. Its tentacle somehow went right up my crack and stung the hell out of my scrotum and taint. My friend knew that there was some household product that neutralizes the poison but he forgot which product. He poured a bunch of meat tenderizer on the affected area and I can report without a doubt that meat tenderizer is definitely NOT the remedy for man o’ war poison. I later leaned that is ammonia.

Were you surprised to be sentenced to time in state prison? Was that a particularly terrifying experience? Do you think 20 months is a long time to serve for such a mild crime?

Are you serious or are just trying to rile up an inmate like they do on that horrific MSNBC show hoping I will freak out and a bunch of screws with electrified shields will burst into my cell and put me down? Uh duh, yeah I’m surprised, yes it is fucking terrifying, and yes 20 months is a HELL OF A LONG time to be locked down for trying to buy weed for your cancerous dad! On another note, it is weird how time changes in here. I mean I used to have emails in my in box that were 20 months old. But damn in here it’s like a snail on a razor blade. BORING!

Did you find it hard to turn whatever God throws at you into lemonade when you first were incarcerated?

No. I am blessed as a glass half full guy and I know that this is merely an opportunity to learn, grow, and make new friends. I will be a better man because of this experience even if I am shanked and bleed out in a dirty public shower. I am that kitten on the poster in my 5th grade class: “when you are at the end of your rope just tie a know and hang on ’til Friday. Of course I mean a Friday in 2016.

jailbaitoncrackle6

What does it feel like to be stabbed in the neck with a screw driver? Does that sort of puncture wound take longer to heal than your average stab wound?

Well first off it is called a shiv. Oddly I was stabbed by screw driver in 7th grade (another story) and I can tell you I’d prefer a shiv anyday. A screw driver is dull and it takes a lot more force to puncture the skin whereas a shiv is sharp as hell. Since my cellie hit an artery, it’s hard to say how much it hurt as I went into shock almost immediately but overall I would say it hurt like a mother fucker. Treatment for this kind of injury, according to the prison nurse is to put some antibacterial salve on a long q-tip and stick it down the puncture. I think I have a scab starting to form.

What was it like to have to share a cell with Roger? Were you surprised to learn to he had murdered so many people? What do you think drives a man to do such thing? What did that whole ordeal teach you?

Yes I was. My barometer on people outside was: if they present themselves as a kind considerate person then they probably are. The problem with that strategy is that it does not account for severe mental illness. Still, in the end, Roger did not kill all those people because he was a “bad” guy. Obviously he was raised improperly. I’ll tell you — prison is a real opener in terms of whether I ever want to be a parent. Boy you can really screw things up big time. By the way Roger makes an excellent prison wine.

Do you think it’d be fair to say that swallowing your former cellmates stash that resulted in that transfer is one of the highlights of your stay behind bars so far?

Oh my gosh yes. Although I should point out that I also won the prison wide chess tournament. I tell you in all confidence that winning the semis in cell block D was a cake walk. In three of the four games I played I was able to walk my pawn down unscathed and turn it into a queen. I mean… really?! Come on guys! There was talk of a t-shirt as a first place prize but it never appeared. I think someone must have pocketed it. It’s not easy running an organized event in a building populated with criminals. Jeez.

Do you think inmates and those who work in the prison system seem a little closed minded when it comes to discussing political issues?

Oh lord yes. I’ve discussed the failure of “No Child Left Behind” until I am blue in the face and none of my prison compatriots seem to give a crap. Believe me, if the schools they attended spent a little more time on project based educational activities instead of all the wasted time teaching to the standardized tests we would probably have a lot fewer heads chopped off at the necks by my friends. Know what I’m saying?

What ever became of the PeePee and Ozzie gang project?

Sadly we were both unsuccessful in joining a gang, which is a HUGE problem in prison. We tried to fit in with the transvestite group but they felt strongly that we just didn’t have the required tools to be one of the team. Pee Pee has some Hawaiian blood in his genealogy so we approached the Asian Triads but our nunchuck training was a complete failure. In the end we formed our own gang. We named it “The Falcons” but it didn’t really seem to stick in the yard. Most people refer to our gang as “The Losers” or “The Punks We Beat the Crap Out of When We Feel Like it.”

Were you surprised he didn’t come to your aid during that beatdown in the yard?

Look let’s not kid each other. If he had joined in then we would have had two people in traction in the hospital wing for two months instead of one. I mean have you seen him? He’s not the smartest thing on the block. I once saw him trying to make a shiv out of a bread stick in the cafeteria for a half hour before he realized it would probably be better to try a different material. The first time I met Pee-Pee he was hanging from his underwear on a hook in the shower. I helped him down only to discover his privates were coated with Nair. Hilarious, right?

jailbaitoncrackle5

After your last experience with drug trials would you ever consider that again? Was it a little scary to have to walk around in such a state considering you are in prison? How long did you have to deal with all of that?

Who would have thunk a quick punch to the crotch would alleviate an erection problem? I certainly wouldn’t but I owe a great deal of thanks to the nurse who took it upon herself to treat a very serious problem. I mean all of those ED (erectile dysfunction) drugs say that if you have an erection for more for four hours you should get treatment immediately. Mine was approaching the 16 hour mark and believe me I tried EVERYTHING to handle it myself. I never thought I would get tired of masturbation but I’m not sure if I will ever make love to myself again. As to participating in a drug trial again — the answer is yes. In fact I am participating in one right now where I race a mouse through a maze. It’s a little intimidating to have your butt kicked by mouse but at the end of the maze I push a lever and get a treat so that’s nice.

Does having a pen pal while jailed help pass the time?

Oh my yes. I mean this is jail and no one has anything to do. As in nothing. We sit and look at each other. I try to make use of my time by scheduling my day. I find that it makes me feel more productive. at 6 a.m every morning I do my Tai Chi until El Rey hurts me in some way. Then, from 7:15-7:30 I look out the bars until the breakfast gruel arrives. Anyway you get the idea. I try to stay busy busy busy in order to pass the time. Writing back my creepy prison pen pals helps a lot. Man some of those people are weird. I sometimes feel safer being on the inside with people like that running around out there.

How has your time behind bars changed you most as an individual?

Oddly I think I’ve become a lot more social. Without 24 hour access to Facebook and the twitter, I find that I need to seek out interaction with others. At home I could stay in bed in my underwear posting controversial things on my facebook page but here I actually have to make friends with real people! It’s a win-win situation unless you consider that they are all trying to rape or kill you.

Did you find Anger Management classes to be an asset? Do you develop a lot of anger when being locked up as you are?

Absolutely! I thought Mr. Housh did an amazing job! The skills he provided were and are extremely helpful to me. The proof is in the pudding too — other than a guard, I have not shived anyone in quite a while. And I know I have Mr. Housh to thank for this. Unfortunately, like most of history’s greatest teachers, our teacher could not heal (or rather teach) himself. His students were like leeches stuck to his calf and, because of our natural anesthetic we developed over eons of evolution (leaches are really amazing creatures) he never felt us attach to his calf when he walked through the stagnant pond. We just sucked him dry until he had no more to give and… well, let’s be honest — he lost his shit. Poor, poor crazy Mr. Housh.

Was it nice to run into someone you had known since childhood? Did Francis’ personality back then ever hint at his murderous temperament?

Well it’s hard to look back in time through neutral contact lenses, you know what I mean? It would be great if I could swap out these old lenses of mine with fresh ones but sadly I have a very bad stigmatism when it comes to my temporal sight. I am also very lazy and it is highly probably that I have not been as diligent with my cleaning as I should be. Chances are VERY good that I have an amoeba floating around my eyeball just eating away at my cornea. Hell I would be surprised if I lost my sight entirely when it comes to looking back in time.

How has prison affected your self esteem? Do you think the other inmates are overly judgmental?

We are simply bacterium in a petri dish over heat and it ain’t pretty. Do you remember Biosphere 2? It was a group of people who agreed to live under a dome for two years with no outsiders. And it did not go well. At first they were all sleeping together and having a good ole time but ultimately they broke up into two factions and man they hated each others guts. I understand that they are still not talking to each other. That’s what prison is like. It’s basically Big Brother but the contestants are all felons. In short, no it has not been good for my self-esteem. Not one bit. BUT that’s what positive affirmations are for. Thank God for Tony Robbins.

jailbaitoncrackle

Would you say Art is a little too free with the taser ?

I hate to say it, but if I am being truly honest with myself, my answer is no. I mean a taser is for tazing right? I believe it was Socrates (which we all know was really Plato) who said every object needs to reach its potential right? If that is true (and you aren’t going to get this inmate to argue with Plato) then a taser is most taser-like when it is actually tazing. In fact, one might argue that a taser is not even a taser if it is not tazing. I mean which is more of a taser — a taser that sits in Art’s belt or a rock? Neither are tazing someone right? Nobody likes being tazed but it does help to know that the taser is reaching it’s true potential. But man it hurts like a motherfucker.

What advice would you give to others who find themselves incarcerated for an extended amount of time?

Skip bail and run. Run with the wind. Go to Canada. Sure everybody up there is way too earnest and boring but I hear you don’t have to lock your doors which is nice. I would recomend that you NOT go to Montreal. I went there on a conference once and everyone speaks french which is annoying. On the plus side though EVERYONE in Montreal is hot. Seriously. They’re like models.

If you don’t jump bail then I recommend you become someone’s bitch.

Do think trying to escape on your last day was a bad decision, or was it a bad reaction to the alcohol?

I’m very taoist when it comes to my take on that day. What is bad or good? I mean really? For example one might think it “good” to win the lottery but we’ve seen what happens. Everybody and their cousin calls you up looking for a loan. Then you end up at the end of the year and the taxman calls asking for his. You forgot to set that money aside and now you’re broke again. So to some — ripping the heart out of a guard with my bare hands and then taking a bite out of it before escaping into the sewer when I only had a few months of time left might seem like a “bad” decision, I prefer to view it with neutral eyes. I simple observe the situation through my 3rd eye. It happened. Period.

What does a human heart taste like?

It’s hard to remember stuff that happens during a psychotic break brought on by prison wine containing pre-poop. To be honest ripping the guard’s heart out barehanded and then biting it is a bit of a blur. I mean if it wasn’t a blur and I was totally aware of it that would be a littler creep right? However if your are going to hold my feet to the fire, I would say it tastes like chicken. Raw chicken though. Sushi grade.

How did things change after your attempted jailbreak?

It wasn’t pretty. Have you ever spent much time in sewage? Staph infections are the LEAST of your problems, believe me. After trudging my way through that much poo I have newfound respect for plumbers. Anyone who spends that much time in poo SHOULD get paid more than teachers, know what I mean? Think about it — which would your rather have: stupid kids or poo everywhere?

What do you think you will be getting released soon? What do you most look forward to then?

Huh? Um, just so you know, when you freak out on prison wine, pull a heart out of guard’s chest and try to escape through the prison’s poo river, they generally frown on that sort of thing. Right now I’m looking at a loooooong time. Remember when you were kid and how in July you would be thinking about what Santa Clause would be bringing you for Christmas? What’s that you say? You never thought about Christmas in July because it was just too fucking far away? Yeah well that’s kinda how I think about what I will do when I get out of prison. Only times a quatrillion. Although if you twist my arm I would have to say I would probably masturbate by myself to all the great free porn I hear is out there thanks to this incredible invention we call the intrawebs.

Anything else you’d like to say before you go?

Crime doesn’t pay but that doesn’t mean that everyone in prison is a douche. A lot of us are really nice guys.

jailbaitoncrackle2

For more JailBait related things please see JailBait on FB. To watch the series in its entirety please see: http://www.hulu.com/jailbait.

 

“Until You Have Returned” by Peter Stahl

Watts_George_Frederic_Orpheus_And_Eurydice

 

Until You Have Returned

It’s not too late to tell her
all love is a myth
If she is Eurydice 
he would be her Orpheus
and he would descend to find her
and bring her back from the dead
where she no longer feels 
anything for him
He’d get down on his knees
and tell her deep in her lips
he will love her forever
all the way to Bliss

I watched you on the carousel 
revolving and transforming 
into these people that I met 
last night and this morning 
Waiting for you, I have learned 
not to look around for you 
until you have returned

Cyrano stands in the shadows
speaking this for Christian
who is at a loss for words
whenever he sees Roxanne
He doesn’t know how to tell her
anything like a lover
to fulfill her secret longings
she has begun to uncover
the ways language can satisfy
almost like a kiss
that will transport her forever
all the way to Bliss

I watched you on the carousel 
revolving and transforming 
into these people that I met 
last night and this morning 
Trusting you, I have learned 
not to look around for you 
until you have returned

Captured by the moment’s magic 
he leaped forward into a glade 
She followed him along the path
No more was she afraid
She knew she was embraced 
by a love that hoped for her best 
where she could be herself 
and not be put to a test
It’s not too late to tell her
all love is a myth
If he was her Osiris 
she would be his Isis

I watched you on the carousel 
revolving and transforming 
into these people that I met 
last night and this morning 
Believing you, I have learned 
not to look around for you 
until you have returned

10/6/12

© Copyright 2012
by Peter J. Stahl

An Interview with Ronnie King and Jack Grisham

joykiller

The Joykiller is a punk rock supergroup founded by Jack Grisham (vocals), Ron Emory (guitar),Billy Persons(bass), Chris Lagerborg, (drums),and Ronnie King, (keyboard) in 1995. Their latest offering is Music for Break-Ups.

Do you happen to remember the moment when you first discovered the power of music?

Ronnie King: Well For me at 11 yrs I was recording a record in a real Studio. I was singing my part. Guess what? I cried. (laughs)

Jack Grisham: It was probably when I was a kid. There was trouble at home—alcoholism, strife, and detachment. I felt alone, uneasy, unloved, and then I heard Bob Dylan’s Lay Lady Lay and it gave me a warmth, a love, and a connection that I’d never felt. The song let me know that it would be okay. I remember copying the lyrics and pretending that I wrote them about she who would one day be in my life.

What was it like to start playing music at the age of 5? Do you think coming from a musical family offered you more encouragement to pursue your interests in the field?

Ronnie King: They weren’t in the Music Business at all. They all play with an unconditioned freedom.I sold out a long time ago…I’m having a wonderful time in this time of my life. I’m enjoying music ( It’s all about the music.)

What were you like as a child? Did you develop your love of music early on as well?

Jack Grisham: I was trouble, too smart for my own good and too sensitive to be comforted. I loved music but I wasn’t gifted as a singer and I had no discipline or desire to learn an instrument.

Who are some of your earliest influences?

Ronnie King: I loved listing to Barry Manalow, and McCoy Jazz Great Piano Dude Chick Corea, and the music at the Catholic Church.

Jack Grisham: Frank Zappa and the Mothers, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones.

rk1

Are there any fond memories from over the course of your career that you hold more dear than others?

Ronnie King: I think signing with Epitaph Records was a highlight. Things were really exciting around there in 96. Oh and working at Death Row at the same time…and having Jerry Heller in the Life.

Jack Grisham: The travel and the connection with the audience. Playing music was the bridge to the hearts of those around me. It was a dear friend that stayed dear and never wavered. My connection with the audience was instant and close, like reminiscing with a stranger that you had never met, but you had so many shared feelings that it seemed like you always knew them.

When did you first know you were a musician? Do you think the job of a musician is more of a calling than a career choice?

Ronnie King: I always knew I would play music. The job of music? It’s not a job it;s all about the music.

Jack Grisham: Playing music is not a choice. It’s painful to be filled with expression and it must be expelled. Whether its playing, writing, acting or any of the other arts, there are those that need to create—music just happens to be one of those necessary outlets.

How did The Joykiller come into being? Where does the name comes from?

Ronnie King: I was playing with Jack in Tender Fury and Body’s and writing with Jack. Living at his mom’s house, living off my wife’s Mobil Card… I’ll let Jack tell ya the rest.

Jack Grisham: The name is an old slang term for a wife that rains on the errant husband’s parade; she was a “Joykiller”. It doesn’t really fit in our case but it was funny. As for how we came in to being; Ronnie and I were screwing around and I had an idea for a sound, a huge departure from what we’d been doing—a very difficult sort of jazzy pop show tune thing, and we stripped it down and simplified the groove. It was instant no-holds barred fun!

What has it been like to be in a band that is on again off again?

Ronnie King: Refreshing.

Jack Grisham: I’ve been married three times, on and off again seems fairly natural to me.

Jack-Grisham1

How would you describe the sound to those yet to hear it?

Ronnie King: It sounds like water. I’ll leave it to the listener.

Jack Grisham:  Sweet but not too sweet, like a salted caramel gelato licked after a fist-fight, cool on a cut lip, but salty enough to plot revenge with…

What can your fans expect from Music for Break-Ups?

Ronnie King: A journey into sound.

Jack Grisham:  A nice time, reminiscent of things you’ve heard before but twisted just enough to be new. Think of your lover, someone you’ve had history with, but tonight you come home and they’re wearing a new scent, a new nighty, or shirt, and it turns you on. You know them, but at the same time, they’re new, exciting, and a touch naughty.

Are there any little known things about you that our readers might be surprised to know?

Ronnie King: They change every day.

Jack Grisham:  I enjoy forest fires and humans that are not quite human.

What is next for The Joykiller?

Ronnie King: Radio, radio, radio.

Jack Grisham:  Who knows? The beauty of this band is there is no plan. Spontaneity

What do you think is key to a life well lived?

Ronnie King: Peace within one.

Jack Grisham:  To do as you please and hopefully as you please contributes to our species and that of those around us.

Anything you’d like to say before you go?

Ronnie King: Enjoy the record.

Jack Grisham:  If you see me, say hello. I like strangers, preferably with candy.

 

For more information please see: Facebook or Wikipedia.

 

An Interview with Mike Adkins


mike_adkins_guitar_uncle_kracker_004

Best known as the guitarist for Uncle Kracker Mike Adkins has shared the stage with such iconic musicians as B.B King, Jeff Beck, and Eric Clapton. He has also played numerous shows with Kenny Chesney, Kid Rock, ZZ Top, Train, and others.

What did you love most about growing up in Detroit?

I guess one of the best things about growing up in Michigan, is that you get to experience all the seasons, in a proper fashion. Fall has to be my favorite, it’s hard to beat the beauty of Northern MI in Fall. On the other hand, there is over a foot of snow on the ground here right now, as I look out my window. Which, I’ll be honest, the older I get definitely makes me question why I haven’t left yet (laughs). But, I just love it here, not just because of the change of seasons, but because Detroit has soul…it has personality, and it has heart! The Detroit music scene molded me into the person/player that I am today, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ll leave it at that.

What was it like to train in classical piano at the age of 8?

It was interesting…I definitely wasn’t that great at first. And, I despised reading the music, which I still do today(smiles). Actually, most of the piano recitals that I remember doing, you would be sat at the piano with the sheet music displayed in front of you, and you were supposed to read the music as you played. Looking back at it now, I’m nearly positive that I just memorized all the songs and looked at the sheet music to appease my teacher. But, in the end piano helped me learn music theory, and eventually led me to guitar. So, I’m definitely thankful my Mom pushed me in that direction.

What music did you first love? Do you happen to remember what your favorite first song was?

Gosh, that’s a really tough one. I guess one of the first songs I can really remember loving was I Heard It Through The Grapevine by Marvin Gaye. The reason for that is, I was super into the California Raisins at the time, and that was their theme song. I remember I had the cassette and I would walk around my house singing and blaring it outta my mini boombox! Funny enough, I just started performing that song in my acoustic duo…so things have really just came full-circle so to speak (laughs).

mike_adkins_guitar_uncle_kracker_021

 

Who are some of your biggest influences in regards to music?

Well, as holds true with most musicians I’d have to assume, I have an extremely long list of influences. But, if I had to name just a few, I’d probably have to pick the obvious choices: Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

What was it like to see The Rolling Stones live at the age of 6? What do you remember most about that experience?

It was definitely pretty incredible, I didn’t really know what to expect. It was extremely overwhelming at first, but once we got to our seats I can remember feeling right at home. Entertained and inspired all at once, although I’m nearly positive I fell asleep before it was over.

Why did you decide to become a guitarist? What do you love most about playing guitar?

I started playing guitar when I was about 12 years old, I can remember being in Sixth grade. It was 1994, and that year my parents took me to more concerts than I’ve ever been to in any other year of life. Just to name a few, I saw: Plant & Page, The Black Crowes, REM, The Offspring, Green Day, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Traffic, and a bunch of others I can’t think of off the top of my head. But, point being seeing all that music that year, made me want to be one of those performers on day. It inspired me to learn guitar, and start performing in front of people and I couldn’t be more gracious of the places that this instrument has taken me, not to mention the opportunities it has given me.

What did it feel like to open at Clapton’s Crossroads Festival in 2007?

It was great! That show was really the first MAJOR show that I had played outside of Michigan with my old band Flophouse. And, it was definitely the first time I had shared the bill with any huge household name artist, such as Clapton and Beck. So, we were thrilled to be a part of it! They put us on first, just after the doors opened…so it’s not like we played to 20k people. But, what it did do, is make me realize that nothing is too far out of reach. I put in a lot of time and energy into getting our band on that show, and it eventually paid off. So, from there, I started putting a lot of hard work and passion behind making a career of out of it.

mike_adkins_guitar_uncle_kracker_002

What does your touring gear consist of?

Well, that’s gonna be an extensive list, so I’ll try and summarize the best I can. I take two acoustics, one is a McPherson Guitar and the other is a Taylor 814ce. For electric guitars, I have a custom Paul Reed Smith, Detroit styled, guitar that is pretty much my main axe. But, I also usually bring out my Goldtop Gibson Les Paul, and a PRS SinglecutHollowbody II. As far as amps go, I use a couple of different amps. Budda Amplification recently got me touring with a Super Drive 30, which I’ve grown to like quite a bit. Also, I’m using a 50-watt Sophia Combo, by Wallace Amplification. Pedal wise I use mostly Dunlop effects, Peterson Tuners, Catalinbread overdrive, and VanAmps reverb. All strung together by Analysis-Plus Cables, that are based right here in Michigan. Lastly, my wireless in-ear monitor system is by Galaxy Audio.

What do you love most about performing live?

There is a lot to love about performing live! I guess the adrenaline rush that you get performing in front of a sold-out crowd has to be my favorite part. We just had a show this past summer at DTE Music Theater here in Detroit, where we headlined that evening, and the roar of the crowd literally gave me goose bumps as we walked out on stage. Hard to beat that feeling (smiles).

What do you think it takes to become an accomplished guitarist?

If there were any one correct method on becoming accomplished or successful as a guitarist, I think everyone would be doing it. What works for someone, may not work for the next person. I guess, the best advice I could offer would be, stay determined. Nothing worth having, happens over night, or comes easily for that matter. It starts by mastering your instrument, then taking it out of the bedroom/house and start doing in front of others. From there, networking and meeting everyone you possibly can along the way, will help you grow as a performer and land better gigs. Stay true to who you are, be friendly, smile, support others, and most important play from your heart. I know all that sounds corny, but if you look beyond the cliché statements that are there. It’s all very true and effective.

Where do you hope to see your career go in the years ahead?

That’s a really tough question to answer. I really love what I do, and I plan on playing music for the rest of my life. Obviously, things change…new opportunities arise, while other doors close. But, with that being said, I know whichever direction my career goes, it will involve music. Put it this way, I have a lot of faith in Uncle Kracker as an artist, and as a touring act. And, while my opinion may be a lil’ biased, I personally think that the best is yet to come.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

When I have downtime from touring with Uncle Kracker, I have a couple acoustic projects that I have been working on. One is called, The Allies, it’s name basically describes exactly what we are. It’s usually a 2 or 3 piece acoustic act, where the members are all from other touring bands, who unite as a band for an evening of rock’n’roll covers, ranging from CCR to Iron Maiden. Our lead singer Chris Gillen can channel Ronnie James Dio so well, it’d make you think he was on the stage. It’s usually a blast, and nothing short of entertaining. My other project is called “Lee – Adkins” which is just what it sounds like, my buddy Brett Lee & Myself. It’s a lot like The Allies, with more of a country influence.Brett has a killer voice, with soul for days!

Is there anything you’d like to say in closing?

Please go ‘LIKE’ my Facebook at:  www.facebook.com/mikeadkinsguitar

And, I hope to run into ya at a show soon…Keep Rocking!

mike_adkins_guitar_uncle_kracker_012

 

“Impossible to Stop” by Stephen Byrne

Impossible to Stop

 

“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there”
                                                                                       L.P. Hartley

History has a way of
unraveling stories that
make up who we are, who
we may become.

A way of unearthing old
tales of broken bones
from the soil beneath our feet.

A way of telling the heart
stories of our past and lays
out a map for us to move forward.

It stirs from our bellies
a butterfly kind of movement,
an aftertaste,
a thought.

It tells us, not to think too far ahead,
not to fall out of the bed of the present
to savour every single breath, to take notes
from the memory of the past.

It sings in the lines of a refrain,
telling love to learn each note, each melody
caught in the wind of the reeds
or drawn from a violin string.

It tells love not to wait but to listen,
not to weep but to teach.

And what will ours become?
What shall we both create?
When the minds of two
come side by side,
travel here and there
there and here,
impossible to stop
when love shared
leaves a trail of history.

 

                                                        After Nathalie Handal

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Stephen Byrne is a chef and writer in Galway west of Ireland. His work has been published in Ireland, UK, US, Canada, India, and New Zealand. He was shortlisted for The Redline Book Festival Poetry Competition 2014, as well as shortlisted 2011 and longlisted 2014 for ‘Over the Edge’ Poetry competition. He is also guest editor for Scissors & Spackle as well as Associate editor for ELJ Publications.

An Interview with Ann Walker

LGBoaHZ

Ann Walker has been entertaining the world with her work in film, television, and theater since 1974. She has graced the stage in such productions as Ballad, Rain, Best Wishes, How the Other Half Loves, Hysterical Blindness, Opera Comique, Steel Magnolias, The Glass Menagerie, Daughters of the Lone Star State, Sordid Lives and Southern Baptist Sissies. She is likely best known for her role as the delightful LaVonda Dupree from the Sordid Lives play, series, and film. She also appeared in such films as Big Gay Love, Southern Baptist Sissies, Father of the Bride II, The Fanatics, Soul Man, It Takes Two, and Jagged Edge, as well as on such television shows as Passions, Arliss, and MadTv, to name a few. Ann can also be found hosting The Ann Walker Show Wednesday nights at 6 p.m. Pacific on the Universal Broadcasting Network.

What was it like growing up in Texas? What are some of your most fond memories from those days? How have your early days there most left a lasting impact on who you are today?

I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s so life was pretty easy for me. I spent summers with my grandmother in a very rural place called Old Waverly, Texas then the other 9 months with my mom and dad in Houston. I was very isolated with my grandma, we had no indoor plumbing, my grandmother, boiled our clothes in a big, black cauldron, I helped her in the ½ acre garden, we gathered eggs and I would create elaborate pretend scenarios. We listened to the soap operas on the radio during the day and I think that was my first taste of storytelling and the power it had over people. It was just a feeling starting to build. It really was a Mayberry kind of existence. But in Houston there was my brother and sister and school. I loved learning new things.

The most lasting impact left on me from growing up was working hard and perseverance. I never wanted for anything but I always thought there must be more to life than living like that. I was soon to see from the movies that, indeed, there was a whole world that I wanted to explore and be a part of.

When did you first discover your love of acting?

On Saturday mornings my mother would drop my siblings and me off at the Granada Theater at 10 am with food and money to buy drinks and we’d be there until 5:00pm. All that time watching serials, cartoons and two movies. I thought it was heaven. That’s where I first fell in love with movies. On Sunday we’d go to church and when my dad closed our grocery store we’d pile in the car and head downtown to one of the beautiful old opera houses that had been converted to movie palaces with names like the Metropolitan, Majestic and Lowes State. There were no ratings for movies back then so we watched everything! Susan Hayward was one of my favorites and anything Clark Gable was starring in. My father liked war movies, my mother, the romantic ones. I didn’t care what we saw, I just loved watching the actors. I guess I was about 8 or 9 when I (in my own mind) decided that’s what I wanted to do. I certainly didn’t understand HOW to go about it and I sure didn’t talk to anyone about it. I just wanted to do what they were doing.

What were some of your earliest favorites in film and television?

I loved musicals so Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Judy Garland, (Also, secretly, I thought I would be a terrific singer and dancer) unfortunately that part didn’t happen but I sure pursued it for a while. As a teenager, James Dean, Marlon Brando, Elvis Presley, oh my God, did I love Elvis Presley, still do! In junior high I got into the variety shows and took part in anything theatrical that was going on in school. High school drama and scholastic league contests became a big part of my life. As graduation approached I told my family that I wanted to go to NYC and study acting and become a professional actress. Then came the first disappointment, they didn’t share my dream so I attended University of Houston as a psychology major, that lasted all of one semester. Then came cosmetology school, I became a hairdresser. Got my license and worked at that for 3 weeks. Had a succession of customer service jobs: power company, oil company and telephone company. In the meantime, I was engaged to my high school sweetheart and we got married. He always believed in me and we are still very close to this day.

What was it like when you realized you wanted to be a professional actress yourself?

In 1967 I enrolled in acting classes at the Alley Theatre in Houston. That simple act started a lifetime of joy and fulfillment. I became obsessed with becoming an actress and the feedback from my acting coach only spurred me on. I spent the next 7 years doing community theatre in Houston. During that time I went to NYC and studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. I performed in 5 musicals back in Houston with Frank Young’s Theatre Under the Stars. (fulfilling my lifelong love of musicals) Movie companies had started coming to Houston on location. I was already getting restless about becoming a professional actress and when SAG & AFTRA (our unions) came to Houston to open up the unions, I joined! Best decision I ever made. In 1974 my husband transferred with his company to Los Angeles for me to finally pursue acting on a professional level. A year after arriving, I had twin daughters. That slowed me down for a little while but when they were about 10 months old I was back on stage in a musical and I haven’t stopped since.

What do you love most about being an actress?

I love everything about acting when I’m acting. The hard part is the rejection when you don’t get a part that you wanted. In the beginning, I thought it had everything to do with me personally but after a while I figured out that I couldn’t take the rejection personally. The more you audition, the more chances you have to book a job. There are so many people vying for every job. You just have to go in and do what you do as best you can and then forget about it. That discipline takes a while to develop.

How does your work in theater differ most from your work in film and television? Do you prefer one more than the other or do you love them all equally?

I love working in the theatre the most because the play is in your hands when the curtain rises on each performance. You and your co-stars. You create the play from the beginning to the end eight times a week. The theatre gives you the immediate feedback from the audience. You get to live that character at each performance and the audience becomes a player as well. In television and film, there is much more suspension of belief for the actor since it’s starting and stopping so much. But the best part of film and television is the lovely paycheck. I often say I love whatever I’ve been asked to do. It’s a wonderful career and I am most grateful that I’ve had a chance to work for many years in all three mediums and have my pension and health insurance and a body of work that I am proud of.

How do you think the entertainment industry has changed most since you first started your career?

The entertainment industry has changed most dramatically in the fact that the studios are now run by 6 very large conglomerates. The film and television studios have to have a blockbuster of large proportions to keep all the stockholders happy on each project. The theatre is getting almost as bad. Large theatres must hire big names so they can fill the seats. I’m glad I had so many of my big successes before this happened. Thank heaven for the independent film makers. They seem to have rescued the great stories and tell them on a low budget and short shooting schedule.

Are there any little known things about you that your fans might be surprised to learn?

I’m such an open book I think anyone who’s ever met me or come to a Q & A after one of my films has heard every deep dark secret I have. Now that I’ve got a radio show every week, they know even more about me!

Are there any moments from your career that stand out most in your memory?

Every opening night in a play, just as you are standing back stage, the house lights go down the stage lights go up and you begin your journey with that character in that play! Right through to the curtain call. The time I have spent on the stage have been the best moments of my career! There are many more but those in particular have been the best.

What can your listeners expect from The Ann Walker Show? Do you enjoy working in radio?

As my acting career has slowed down, I thought, what can I do for fun and enjoyment. Enter Internet Radio. I started my show 5 years ago and 2 ½ years ago I helped co-found Universal Broadcasting network. www.ubnradio.com, when I thought about what kind of show I would do, I took stock of what areas of life that interested me and came up with politics and being an advocate for the LGBT community. We have a fun and interesting show with lots of guests. It’s 1 ½ hours of discussion about hot topics that are on my mind, that are bothering me, so I am sure they must be bothering other people too. I do tackle many other topics that I find interesting. We are streaming live with video and a chat room which makes it interactive with the audience. A lot of our listeners who can’t tune in live will go to the website and listen to the archive shows there. I love working in radio, you feel very connected to the audiences and we have listeners all over the world.

tumblr_mawrliP50b1qza5nio1_1280

What does it feel like to bring the world LaVonda Dupree? Did your being Southern yourself come in handy when doing that?

It’s true, LaVonda is my favorite character that I’ve played. I feel very lucky that Del Shores wrote that part for me. There’s a lot of Ann in LaVonda. It’s sort of like Ann if she never left Houston, Texas. Of course, being from Texas and having a family with every one of those characters in it, did come in handy. Looking back, my family was pretty funny but while I was there, it didn’t seem too funny. That’s why it is so important to play these characters straight, they’ll be funny to the audience, but if we try to be funny then they will become stereotypes.

Are you looking forward to bringing her back in the new Sordid Lives film? When can we expect to see that? What is it like to work with Del Shores?

Yes, yes, yes, this is the best news any of us have heard in a long time. We will be coming back hopefully as planned for May. We’ll be shooting in Dallas and I do look forward to the “Black Eyed Pea” restaurant!!The movie is planned to be released before the end of the year. Working with Del Shores and the rest of this extraordinary cast is like working with your family. We all love each other and respect the talent of each person. Del knows how to work with each of us to get the best performance we can give. It’s a dream come true!

What do you love most about being Southern? Do you think the stereotypes have cast us all in a rather unfair light?

You see, dear reader, I couldn’t wait to get out of that place. Now that’s probably something you didn’t know about me. I’m glad I was raised there because every person was a character study. But, when I left in my late twenties, Texas was a Democrat state and now, it’s hard for me to go back and see how bigoted, racist and hate-filled Texas has become. What has happened to women’s rights, civil rights, protecting a person’s right to vote, education? I’m sorry to say I don’t think most of the people are being cast in an unfair light. I know there are still many people who would like to change the current state of affairs and I sure hope they can.

What advice would you offer women in regards to being comfortable with what God gave them in today’s society?

We will never look like the women in the fashion magazines! For a long time I thought I must strive for that. I had low self-esteem about my looks because I just couldn’t make that come true. I finally figured out that this goal was not attainable and I must find my beauty and acceptance in myself. Once I did that, I calmed down and appreciated that I was happy, healthy and could make people laugh and had friends and loved ones who became my mirror of myself. It’s a hard lesson to learn but as I got older, I’m glad I figured it out because it saved me a lot of heartache.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Who was it?

  1. Readers Digest Magazine had an article How to Be Lucky which I read before leaving Houston and the first thing was Go to as many functions where people in your field will be. Keep going and get to know as many as possible. 2. Character actor/past president of AFTRA, Marvin Kaplan told me many years ago “Never turn down work”. Now, that doesn’t mean if offered a part in porn or some part that goes against your personal morals, it just means never turn down a legitimate job because the part is too small or you have to look plain or you have to play a homeless person and not the upscale woman. Just do the job to the best of your ability and don’t complain. Especially not to hair and makeup because it will get back to people who can hire you again. Always be courteous and on-time and don’t talk too much.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

As of December 31, 2014 I sold my share of UBN Radio so that I can enjoy my life with my children and grandchildren. I’m now free to go on more auditions and take parts that require travel. I’m planning a trip to Italy this year in September. I’ve got the movie to do in May. I’m still doing The Ann Walker Show every week which I hope people will tune into. Fingers crossed, there’ll be more TV, movies, and plays on my horizon.

What do you think is key to a life well lived?

A life well-lived means living life to the fullest every day, every year. Living mindfully which includes thinking how we fit into the world around us, doing what we can to preserve our planet. Having compassion for our fellow man. My motto, live and let live! Be kind to one another!

If you don’t mind my asking how do you hope to be remembered when your time comes?

Hopefully, all the things I mentioned above, I can accomplish and be remembered as a great mother, grandmother, and loyal friend! Oh, and a terrific actress!

Anything you’d like to say in closing?

I’d just like to say THANK YOU to the thousands of people who have supported my dreams and appreciated my work over the last 35 years and I look forward to bringing more laughs their way in the future!

“Art Isn’t Dead-It’s Still Dying” by Antonia Alexandra Klimenko

Art Isn’t Dead-It’s Still Dying

 

                                       “like Dali’s melting clocks”

                                                          ~Steffen Hortsman

 

How you plan to kill time
means nothing to me
as your troops invade my body

Outside
the city falls to its knees
I hold it crying in my arms
as I fall in love with strangers

Come, my friend
let us crucify the hour—
minute-hands nailed to the cross
our faces slowly turning
like Dali’s melting clocks
to and from the horizon

Please, let us hurry! We must go!
There is no arguing
the yes and no of night and day

But first
let me murder the piano
one by one and in every key—
lifting and lowering each tone
into its ebony grave its ivory tower—
raising even the dead
in living color
as only an Impressionist can
who draws pictures and no conclusions—
my blood spilling onto
the human canvas
stretched beyond all measure—
lamp-shades of skin and ash

(How beautiful the light
that bears the weight
of its own unbearable absence)

See how the undying wave to you, now
from the unframed corners of my mouth
(that other gas oven)
in muted screams of crimson and orange
bewildered yellow…muffled brown…acoustic blue
How sudden inspiration Dada!!! Mama!!!“
can explode
like shooting stars or automatic fire
into the tone-deaf illusion of pitch-black Nothingness

Come
let me recreate
the fluorescence of your smile
let me reinvent myself
as I, on display
walk these random streets
freshly garbed in widows weeds
Paris,1942

Even, now, as I speak
I am painting my screams green
I am dying my hair red
(as only the color blind can)
I am changing my name to Violette
and I am returning to that other country
I, a Russian da-da refugee
as cumbersome as obscure as open
as any French Door by Marcel Duchamp—
my windowpanes—translucemt, fragile cities of light—
my memory polished beyond recognition
my nose pressed to your shattered glass—
Paris, my mirror

O Paris
How often I have wandered your truth—
looking for me in search of you
And where is God when I need Her now
to find my way back in the dark?

Please, let us hurry! Let’s go home!
Let us marry the bed
Let us marry the mirror
Let us marry this moment—
my fingers kneeling before yours in prayer
folding the blessings of faceless angels
into the corners of my mouth

Only this There is no other moment
Only this
crossing the threshold of Dream
passing through our veil of tears
crossing myself
as you enter me
through
the window of my reflection
transcendent, decoded
Holy, Yessssss

Shhhhhhhhhhh

 

10603779_10203445222506219_3972914975498444032_n

Antonia Alexandra Klimenko trained as an actress at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. She was first introduced on the BBC and to the literary world by the legendary Tambimutttu of Poetry London–publisher of T.S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, Allen Ginsberg, and Bob Dylan, to name a few. After his death, it was his friend, the late great Kathleen Raine, who took an interest in her writing and encouraged her to publish. Although her manuscript was orphaned upon ‘Tambi’s passing, her poems and correspondence are included in his Special Collections at Northwestern University. The former San Francisco Poetry Slam Champion and devotee of Spoken Word has performed at various venues such as the renowned Purple Onion and The Intersection for the Arts–the oldest alternative art space in the City by the Bay. Her one-woman-show, Where the Blue Begins was presented in conjunction with Sonoma’s performing art series Women on the Edge. Most recently, she participated in Three Room Press’ presentation of Dada a la Carte at the Mona Bismarck American Center for Art and Culture. Klimenko’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in CounterPunch, The Original Van Gogh’s Ear Anthology, Iodine Poetry Journal, The Seventh Quarry, Howl: San Francisco Poetry News, Boheme Verite, The Bastille, Paris Lit Up, Strangers in Paris–New Writing Inspired by the City of Light, The Last Clean Dirty Shirt Anthology, Voyeur, The Indian River Review, Blook, Sweat and Tears, Quail Bell, Southeast Review, The Best of Mad Swirl, Knot Magazine, Vox Populi, Levure Litteraire, The Criterion International Literary Journal, Occupy Wall Street Anthology (in which she is distinguished as an American Poet) and Maintenant: Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing and Art archived at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. She lives in Paris.