In the early hours of November 13, 1974, 23-year-old Ronald “Butch” DeFeo Jr. methodically shot six members of his family, including four of his younger siblings, while they were sleeping in their home on in the Amityville, NY. The family had moved into the sprawling Dutch colonial on 112 Ocean Avenue a few years ago, and though their home life was rife with abuse and drama, the house had been a symbol for a fresh start. The dad, Ron Sr., even named the house High Hopes, a chillingly ironic moniker for an estate that would be rife with such pain, horror, and a haunted legacy.
What does it mean to own land? That’s one of the questions at the heart of the gorgeous western Hell or High Water. In the film two brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) scour the dry and lonesome West Texas landscape robbing multiple branches of the bank that’s threatening to foreclose on the family ranch after their mother died. On the surface, their cause seems righteous: familial morality in the face of heartless corporate greed, but as the story lingers on the moral lines smudge into the gray confines of the human condition. Complete moral dualism is an illusion, and every fight to secure something for your own family, your own tribe, can lead to unintended consequences for everyone.
Krystian Bala was the author of an obscure book just a few years ago but now his novel, Amok, is pretty widely known for aiding in his murder conviction.
The gold streaked polaroids of flowers Tamta Giorgadze posted on her Flickr account caught my eye with their glittery audaciousness. They’re playfully random, dreamlike images that pulls magic from the moment.
Humans want to know answers and we yearn for comfort in an uncomfortable world. Answers to any question are fairly scarce and only point toward more questions. That’s why cults are so attractive. They give us clear answers and then cut us off from the well of more questions with the force of Authority. The faucet is blocked, the flicker of curiosity sated by clean lines of certainty’s illusion.
It was Key West, 1940, and Carl Tanzler, (a.k.a. the self-proclaimed Count Carl von Cosel) had a fan club while he stood trial for grave robbing. He received scores of letters and visits from young women championing his undying obsession. They were seduced by his spin on eternal love and mad romance. Some of Carl’s fans were excited by his quest to seize life from the clutches of death with the right formula of elixirs and electricity. All great scientiest are thought to be crazy until they’re proven right, they argued.
11 years ago artist Antony Gormley installed 100 cast iron statues on Crosby beach in Liverpool. This haunting project, titled “Another Place,” was a commission from Liverpool Biennial. The figures, which were cast using Gormley’s own body, stand solidly on the beach looking out into the horizon, strong against the assault of brine and storm.
Austin, TX is home to a great deal of interesting street art, but there are a few murals that are deeply ingrained in the city’s story and culture. Like musician Daniel Johnston’s Jeremiah the Innocent Hi How Are You Frog (which can be found on a Guadalupe wall that now belongs to Thai How Are You restaurant and is instantly recognizable to Johnston’s fans,) Jo’s Coffee on South Congress features a similar mural with a sweet, simple message. It says in red, handwritten scrawl “i love you so much.” This is behind the mural that excites so much wonder and curiosity.
The Neon Demon is a gorgeous film. The bold, color-saturated photography of Natasha Braier paired with Cliff Martinez’s haunting score makes the entire event a devilish sensuous treat. It’s a horror flick set in the L. A. fashion scene, a notorious breeding ground for real monsters. When everyone is beautiful, the currency of pretty depreciates quickly, so some other savage quality may be required to thrive. The Neon Demon jumps, with impish glee, straight into the sparkle-lined abyss that idea conjures, like Alice spiraling into the underworld.
Maybe she drowned herself in The Silent Pool. That’s what they thought when they found her green car near the area, lights on and hood up. The Morris Crowley was still full of the writer’s things, including a fur coat, a packed suitcase, and an expired driver’s license.