02.19.14

The League ebook is up on Amazon now.

 

The League

ebook posted in: Writing | Comments (0)
02.09.14
The League by Billups Allen

Failed diets, dead end jobs, and crippling social anxiety weigh heavy on Martin Selby. As he settles into his new life in the small desert town of San Ramos, California, his psychological health worsens until he meets Chuy: an overweight ex-boxer whose confidence and strength gives Selby new hope. His newfound happiness teeters when his new hobby becomes an obsession.

Billups Allen’s interest in writing began writing lyrics for punk rock bands Shoutbus and Corn on Macabre. Lyrical duties led to poetry and short stories. He graduated from the University or Arizona with a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Media Arts. He now lives in Washington D.C. where he freelances, writes Cramhole comic zine and contributes regularly to film and music magazines.

$12 + $5 postage

01.31.14

I finally moved ahead with self publishing The League this week. I went through one of those cheapo book printing orgs, so I hope it turns out okay. I hope to have Cramhole 4 printed at our usual print house, but I felt I’ve been so stagnant lately that I needed a win. This “package” includes a download through Amazon and B&N. I know it’s not very punk, but I’m just figuring it out. I’ll put up a link here. I’ll post again when the hard copies arrive.

Otherwise, things are going well. Still drawing CH4 and settling back in to a new life in DC. I’m doing a reading on February 13th at Smash. I don’t know if the books will be there, but that’s the hope. I’ll post a flyer when/if I get one.

The big DC record show was last weekend. I had a good time, except I didn’t see too many of you there. There is a whole new gen of people buying records it seems. Every year, someone sends me an article about how vinyl is making a comeback. I guess over it’s true. It’s time for a CD resurgence now. Let’s make ‘em cool for the first time. The Smash booth was so busy, I didn’t have much time to shop, but here’s a recent score. Seriously good and seriously tan.

 

12.31.13

I’ve been sending out some re-ups in anticipation of working on Cramhole #4.

Here are links to a few new stores currently carrying Cramhole:

Steady Sounds Richmond, VA

Record Grouch Brooklyn, NY

Co-Op 87 Brooklyn, NY

We’re still going strong at Smash! Records- Washington DC and through Pioneers Press

Sadly, Tucson oasis Toxic Ranch Records is closing its doors this year. I worked there for a year while I was living in Tucson and it was a great store.

Here’s a nice piece about them in the Tucson Weekly.

12.29.13

So, it’s been a while. 2013 has had its middle finger lodged firmly in my ass, but I’m back in DC., working on a new Cramhole and working a new dog walking job. I’m also filling in at Smash. After cancer and divorce, things are coming together. I’m also reunited with my computer, so look for more updates on things coming up. This year will finally see the publication of The League and hopefully Cramhole #4 with new artists and no cancer anecdotes. I’m leaving that for the experts.
Thanks to everyone who has been so supportive over the last few months. In spite of how shitty things have been, I had a nice time travelling to Austin, being a part of Ben Tankersley’s wedding, and spent some time in Mississippi with my grandfather and at flea markets. I wrote some stories and am still doing reviews for  Razorcake.
So here I am restating my intention to post more and looking forward to a productive year. I stored my computer without remembering my passwords, otherwise I might have posted more from the road. Below is the cover of the next Cramhole and an article I wrote about a film called Nightmares (1983).

Nightmares (1983)
Universal
Director: Joseph Sargent
MCA Home Video

The 80s was a great time for low-budget horror anthologies. Creepshow (1982) helped revive a tradition that was going strong in Britain in the early seventies with films like Tales from the Crypt (1972) and Vault of Horror (1973). While Creepshow had a one two punch with a script by Stephen King and direction by George Romero, 1983’s Nightmares did not have the same cache.  However the film has a respectable cast and a few good short stories with some interesting twists.

The film opens with “Terror in Topanga,” a story about an escaped psychopath terrorizing a small community. It wouldn’t be a story if someone didn’t go out for cigarettes. The twist in the story closely resembles an urban myth, but it’s a fun story and Fear frontman Lee Ving is among the players. The most unique story in the anthology is the second story:  “The Bishop of Battle.” This chapter finds Emilio Estevez between his success in The Outsiders and his eventual ascension into cult stardom in Repo Man. Estevez plays J.J. Cooney, a video game hustler (I only hope there really were video game hustlers.) Cooney goes from arcade to arcade listening to Fear on his Walkman and hustling people out of their allowances. Cooney does this because he’s obsessed with a video game called The Bishop of Battle. Cooney is convinced there is an unreachable 13th level that will validate his existence. The story is one of the best video game horror stories considering that there aren’t that many.  A clandestine moment can be had with fans of the movie with the game’s opening warning: “Greetings Earthlings. I am the Bishop of Battle, master of all I survey. I have 13 progressively harder levels. Try me…if you dare.”

If you consider what can go wrong here for a moment, you can probably work out the twist ending, but for a glimpse into early Estevez and a good representation of early arcade culture, the second chapter of Nightmares is a must see.

Story three has two things working for it: one is the ever effective Lance Henriksen playing a priest, and two, it recognizes the length of time the man vs. car plotline can remain interesting. Henriksen plays Macleod, a priest struggling with his faith until he is faced with battling a satanic car. It sounds a little trite, but Henriksen makes it work. His ability to struggle with evil is inherent and he makes the story work. There is a similar dynamic in “Night of the Rat,” where professional hysteric Veronica Cartwright makes a typical giant rat narrative better. Cartwright is a freak out expert, bringing her pushed-over-the-edge persona to films like Alien (1979), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) and The Right Stuff (1983). Nightmares won’t blow your mind, but it’s a great Saturday night horror anthology with good performances, punk undertones, and a few surprises. It’s been released a couple of times on DVD, but it’s an easy video to run across in s dollar bin as it’s usually in the throwaway section of stacks of horror videos. It’s easily a dollar or two’s worth of fun.

08.25.13

For those of you who write to me and those whom I haven’t spoken to in a while, my Brooklyn address is not going to be good anymore. I’m in limbo in September. I will get my new address out as soon as I get settled. I did a mail forward to my parents P.O Box, but best to wait if you need to send me anything. Also my stuff is in storage, so if you do a mail order, it could be delayed. Drop me an email if you want to see if I’m coming through your town. We’ll party.

Here is a short review I sent out to a horror mag I hope to do some writing for in the future. For those horror fans who haven’t seen the Death Waltz releases, they are primo classy.

The House by the Cemetery
Score by Walter Rizzati
Directed by Lucio Fulci
Exclusive new cover art by Graham Humphreys

Prog rock-inspired scores brought a new twist to the tone of horror movies in the seventies. Influential films like Dawn of the Dead helped marry the prog-style soundtrack with the new wave of gory horror creating a new standard for neo-gothic narratives. For fans of Lucio Fulci’s unique brand of non-linear storytelling, Walter Rizzati’s score for the third installment of the unofficial Gates of Hell trilogy is a solid listen. Now available on LP through Death Waltz Records, a label dedicated to reissuing seminal and somewhat lost horror soundtracks, Rizzati’s music adds considerable atmosphere to the experience of The House by the Cemetery. The synth heavy score compliments the eerie and gory elements of the film and solidifies Fulci’s vision. Death Waltz celebrates long out of print horror scores like with high-end vinyl releases. The album as a product harkens back the old philosophy of vinyl releasing by including treats like album art posters and record flats. The art comes from veteran movie poster artist Graham Humphreys; it’s a wonderfully gory reimagining of images from the film. Humphreys’ credits include posters for The Evil Dead and A Nightmare on Elm Street along with loads of cult and horror DVD covers. For fans of Italian horror, House by the Cemetery is essential listening.

Death Waltz

07.20.13

I sent out a bunch of reviews recently that of course were all rejected. Here is a short one about the recent Resonars album. Looking back at my reviews, I realize I may have written about them too many times. But I can’t help it; I think they are sorely underrated. In a recent set of submissions, I mentioned to the editor of a large magazine he should be listening to the Resonars. I bet he went right out and checked them out.

The Resonars- Crummy Desert Sound
Burger Records
Desert psych masters continue to bake in the sun.
This long-standing psychedelic band from Tucson, Arizona has weathered several retro resurgences. Six albums over nearly fifteen years find a psychedelic powerhouse producing consistently great psychedelic pop albums while languishing in the blazing Arizona desert. The Resonars combine jangly guitars and carefully placed fuzz to create psychedelic pop influenced heavily by Revolver-era Beatles. The band’s unique brand of pop-infused psychedelia is served with precision, Hollie’s style vocal harmonies. Tomorrow Gears and Vanishing People are punk-tempo rockers framing tropes of early powerpop. But this band should not be written off as simply a retro outfit. Thick layers of upbeat psychedelic riffs hold the interest of retro hounds, but the songwriting on Crummy Desert Sound is multifaceted.


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