Archive for the ‘Gothic Artwork’ Category


Dillinger Days in Tucson

February 15, 2014

Recently, we celebrated the 80th anniversary of the capture of John Dillinger and his gang here in Tucson, in January of 1934. The Hotel Congress is at the center of this extravaganza (since that’s where his gang was recognized), with a re-enactment and a mini-museum. The weather was absolutely gorgeous that weekend (January 25th) — I’m not trying to brag, but  —  yeah, as a matter of fact, I am.

John Dillinger's Tommy Gun

John Dillinger’s Tommy Gun

The piece in the forefront was Dillinger’s actual tommy gun — yowza! There was an armed policeman guarding this exhibit.

Antique cars (from Dillinger’s era) lined the street in front and along side of the Hotel Congress — the majority in an awesome state of restoration.

Cars Along Congress Street

Cars Along Congress Street

Another view of the Hotel Congress — this from the rooftop patio of the bar Playground. Note the scrumptious bloody Marys.

My sweetie.

My sweetie.

Local characters dressed up in 1930’s drag, too, just for the fun of it.

A Man and His Gun

A Man and His Gun

The Purple Mobster

The Purple Mobster

The re-enactment was outside, behind the hotel (where they have patio seating for the Cup Cafe). It was funny and noisy and crowded — all ingredients for fun.  We met visitors from other states (like Wisconsin and Michigan), and sat next to a couple from British Columbia.

Two DillingersTwo Dillingers

Everybody's Packin' Heat in Tucson

Everybody’s Packin’ Heat in Tucson

Scenes from the Show

Scenes from the Show

Another Scene from the Show

Another Scene from the Show

Another cool thing about Dillinger Days — so many restaurants, bars, stores and galleries open up for all the event-goers. We wandered into the Sacred Machine (gallery for the artworks of Daniel Martin Diaz) and fell into a world of Gothic wonder. We conversed with the artist and his partner, and bought their CD, “Music for Unmade Movies.” As recording artists, they are known as Blind Divine. We also stopped in Elliott’s for a snack, and later on at Proper for a light dinner.

So glad downtown Tucson is in the midst of a renaissance. It’s no mystery why I dig this town.


Abandoned Places

July 17, 2010

All along Route 66 you’ll find abandoned places — everything from farmhouses to bars. People just walked away, leaving these structures behind. Maybe they haven’t been empty all that long, but nature moves in very quickly, reclaiming materials and space. Can’t help but wonder what happened to the people who left — who were they, what happened? Where did they go? It’s easy to see how people might believe in ghosts, looking at places like these.

Very picturesque, and poignant, in their own way.


And this place below — the only bar/roadhouse around for miles, must have seen some rowdy times.

But not any more.  Here’s my poem for an abandoned bar:

night, friend*

night, friend
questions nothing       no one

neither drunken beast
nor melancholy woman

dreams deceive
and fortune is loath

to swear fidelity
to any manner of mercy

vulgar chance offers
a cup of  kindness

better take a sip
before the bar closes

The decrepit barn below would be awfully creepy (it looks like it’s smiling! or worse, gasping), if it wasn’t for the industrial-looking set-up behind it.

We saw a couple of abandoned drive-ins; one was being used for a cattle grazing area — cows were dithering about, munching greenery between speaker posts, beneath the enormous, dilapidated movie screen. The one pictured below has no cows, so it’s even lonelier.

Here’s my interpretation of the lonesome essence of all these abandoned places:


*First published in Poetry @ the River Annual Review, Vol I, Summer 2008


Steam Punk, Vampires, and a Little Rat Dog

June 23, 2010

Familiar with Steam Punk? If not, it’s lots of fun — the music, the outfits, the mindsets. If you care, my favorite band from that genre is Abney Park, (current) favorite song of theirs’ is “Victoria”  — so pretty, so poignant — it’s a like a little movie. Give it a listen.  For something more hardcore, listen to “The Wake.” And if you really want to hear something wild, check out their version of  “Little Drummer Boy”  — so very, very different, you’ll forget it’s a Christmas song.

Four pieces of Steam Punk jewelry I made last Spring, crafted from analog watch parts, a cannibalized typewriter, and tiny miscellaneous electronic bits:

If ever there was music to put you in the mood for a good vampire romance/soap opera/epic storyline, it’s Rasputina. They have some dark-mood inducing covers (“Transylvanian Concubine” and “Wish You Were Here,” for starters). Here’s a pic to help set a vampiric atmosphere:

How about something for bad dreams?

But, hey, let’s lighten things up a bit, because it is vacation time (!) after all:

This ratter is the star of his own series of video shorts — if you’re interested, watch them here.

Adios, amigos.  See you in a few weeks.


One of Many. . .

June 18, 2010

. . . things to love about the Desert Southwest are the various old missions, some still functioning as churches (like San Xavier del Bac, aka The White Dove of the Desert),  but most existing as historical sites. San José de Tumacácori is a personal favorite, and a roadtrip there never fails to feel like we’ve been sucked back into a harsher, haunted time. You find it, miles from any big town, crouching in the heat and dust of southern Arizona like a giant, sun-drowsy lizard.  It’s been around a long, long time — since 1691 (!), when it was founded by Jesuit missionary Faher Kino. There’s always something a bit eerie about old churches, anyway. Inside, it’s very quiet and the air is cool — not hard to imagine you hear the echo of faint Gregorian chants.

Approaching the mission, it’s always a little surprising how small the structure is:

Inside, there are remnants of beauty,  now literally crumbling away:

Imagine what these details must have looked like when they were newly painted:

There is a small cemetery out back,  of course:

Tumacácori is a wonderful place to indulge in old-west-Gothic musings. (And I do.)

Hot husband under a shady ramada (yeah, that’s double entendre, people.) Doesn’t he look like he is going to bite you? Yikes! (= Yay!)

The cutest kid ever, taking a break in the shade.



June 15, 2010

Last December, we took a roadtrip to Jerome and Sedona — Jerome’ s an old mining town (established in 1883 on Cleopatra Hill — which has a 30 degree incline!). We stayed at the Connor Hotel, in a room right over their rowdy bar. The town has several wineries — we did a tasting at the Jerome Winery(delightful patio with amazing views).


at the canyon’s edge
a gathering of stars
pulled down by the lavish
dream of gravity

(excerpt from my longer poem, “Planetary,” that suits Arizona roadtrips)


Took a daytrip on the Verde Canyon Railroad, where you can actually see bald eagles, nesting and soaring. But beware if you’re a little doggie:

What would a trip to an old mining town in Arizona be without ghosts and eerie things? Boring, that’s what. Look what we found:

Guess this car will never grow up to be a highway diner. Also found some great, creepy old doors — portals to the local Hellmouth, or just to forgotten places? Will post those another day.


Graceful, Amusing, Unsettling

June 13, 2010

A gourd vine clinging and climbing up the wall; the unintentional hilarity of kids’ art at the local library branch; an afternoon visit from the watermelon man — all things graceful, amusing, unsettling.

This fellow has been wandering around our wall; baby gourds are finally beginning to sprout. There’s definitely a beautiful slow dance going on here, as with all vines.


Kids’ art in the meeting room of our local library branch: zombie cowboys. Not so, you say? More like cowboy witches? Oh, as if.


These zombie/cowboy/witches inspired my horrorku (an actual genre — I did not make it up):

open field of wildflowers
zombies thrash and flail
famished buzzard blinks


Afternoon visit from the Watermelon Man. He comes, he sits, we chat. Then he eats his own head. Zombie!


MMMmmmm. Sweet juicy red stuff! I’ve almost finished reading Dawn of the Dreadfuls. It’s very funny, and sometimes gruesome, a combination I find deeeelightful. Hope they make a movie out of it.


Copper, Gargoyles, and La More

May 20, 2010

Bisbee, Arizona, was once — like in the late 1800’s — a thriving copper-mining town; in the last several decades it has reinvented itself as an artists colony, of sorts. In either incarnation, it is, was, always a wild western town.

On one of our last visits we stayed in a supposedly haunted hotel, the Hotel La More (actually, we’ve stayed there twice). I do love an old hotel — like a hundred years old.  No ghosts, but I saw this from our hotel window (ooo, spooky!):

We did go down into the Copper Queen Mine — a guided tour — we’re not going exploring alone in a defunct mine! Above ground, around town, we encountered some interesting little architectural adornments: the Gargoyles of Bisbee.