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Episode One

In this first episode of the Beatdom Podcast, your host, David S. Wills, talks with Charles Cannon about his Burroughs 100 event, discusses the questions of “What is Beat?” listens to poetry by Beatdom contributor, GK Stritch, and speaks with Michael Hendrick, author of the forthcoming novels Egypt Cemetery and Whiskers in the Wind.

As this is our first ever foray into the world of podcasting, please forgive our lack of technical expertise. The sound quality will improve in future and we are exploring various hosting options. However, we do appreciate constructive criticism, so please feel free to leave your thoughts below or via e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter.

The player below should be working, but if not, you can catch us on iTunes at: Don’t forget to subscribe in order to catch all future episodes.

Somebody Blew Up America: A Conversation with Amiri Baraka

This interview originally appeared in Beatdom #12 – the CRIME issue. You can purchase it on Amazon and Kindle.


Amiri Baraka is Beat.

He walked away from the scene in Greenwich Village, where he edited literary journals Yugen, Kulchur, and The Floating Bear from 1958-65. Working with Hettie Cohen, Michael John Fles, and Diane Di Prima, respectively, the journals brought new works by new names. Featured writers included Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, Phillip Whalen, and Michael McClure. He co-founded Totem Press and was influential in the launching of Corinth Books. Yugen magazine was perhaps most significant as the platform for the “new” Beat writers, allowing their work to find a place in one of the first venues to give credulity to the movement. Continue Reading…

What to Expect from Beatdom #12

It’s here, it’s here, it’s finally here!!!!

That’s right, ladies and gentleman. Beatdom #12 – the CRIME issue – is now on sale. You can purchase your copy on Kindle or good old dead tree format, both from your favorite industry-crushing internet monopoly. The Paypal link from Beatdom Books is coming soon…

If you’ve read Beatdom before, then you’ve probably already placed your order for this new installment. You know what to expect, as we always deliver the best of the best of the best. But for those of you out there who have never before set eyes on the beatest literary journal around, let me give you a run-down of what to expect:

Firstly, let’s talk about the interviews. Beatdom editor, Michael Hendrick, has been busy talking with Patti Smith and Amiri Baraka – two of the biggest names in their respective fields. The conversations span politics, pens, and poetry. David S. Wills talked to none other than Joyce Johnson, one of the key influences in bringing to light the women of the Beat Generation. She discusses her new book – The Voice is All.

Then there are the essays. As always, you can count on Beatdom to bring you the finest in literary criticism and history analysis, and this time we have once again triumphed. We start with David S. Wills’ essay, “Beat Rap Sheet,” in which he highlights the criminal records (or unrecorded criminal activities) of the Beat trinity- William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, and Allen Ginsberg. Matthew Levi Stevens takes it from there with a deeper look into the criminality of Burroughs, whose psychologist once referred to as a “gangsterling,” for his juvenile obsession with bad guys. We take a slight detour from the Beat route to look at Raymond Chandler and his portrayal of Los Angeles’ infamously mean streets, before returning to the Beats with essays by Chuck Taylor and Philip Rafferty, who discuss the value of Kerouac’s poetry and the extent to which the Beats were truly Zen, respectively.

Poetry is always a huge draw for our readers, and this time around we’ve packed a lot of quality verse into our little magazine. Our poets for this issue are Jamie McGraw, Catherine Bull, Michael Hendrick, Velourdebeast, Kat Hollister, Holly Guran, MCD, and Alizera Aziz.

We have fiction from Beatdom regular, Zeena Schreck, who has given us her theatre monologue, “Night Shift, Richmond Station,” and also from newcomer, Charles Lowe, with his tale of life in China, “Baby American Dream.” Both continue our exploration of the criminal element.

Jerry Aronson, director of the magnificent documentary, The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg, is back with a special Beat photo, and Spencer Kansa, author of the first ever Beatdom Books publication, Zoning, recounts a visit he paid to the late Herbert Huncke – the very man who inspired Burroughs and co. to their own criminal exploits in the 1940s.

We also have a review of Ann Charters and Samuel Charters’ book, Brother-Souls, which examines the life of John Clellon Holmes. The review functions also as a biographical essay, detailing some of the more interesting aspects of Holmes’ life.

Finally, we wrap up this outing with yet another piece of artwork from the one and only Waylon Bacon, entitled “Rogues Gallery.”

Dig This ~ Ann and Samuel Charters Read Beat Poetry

We found this while doing some research on the Charters’ Book, Brother-Souls:John Clellon Holmes, Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation. It has only had 79 views so far, so enjoy something new!!!

Read a review of their book and learn about John Clellon Holmes and Jack Kerouac in Beatdom 12!!!

It is published on the University Press of Mississippi. Buy a copy on Amazon or at the usual outlets. It is one of the best Beat reads you will ever find!

Beatdom 12 ~ The Crime Issue ~ Coming Soon!!!

Yes, friends, Beatdom Issue Twelve is on it’s way and today we unveil the cover, featuring the lovely Zeena Schreck – who was kind enough to contribute this wonderful photo for the cover, as well as a short monologue (meant for stage) which she wrote at about the same time the photo was taken.

Beatdom 12 cover

“I thought they’d compliment each other in a film-noirish type way, for a crime-theme. I hope you like it,” she says and we hope that you enjoy her work, too. Zeena and Nikolas Schreck have been great contributors since they joined us, and we are always delighted with what they have to share with us.

Issue Twelve will be another jam-packed issue, featuring interviews with Patti Smith, Amiri Baraka and Joyce Johnson and a close look at the first person to publish a piece of Beat Literature, John Clellon Holmes. He is featured in a review of the great biography/period non-fiction book on University of Missisippi Press, Brother-Souls by Ann Charters and Samuel Charters.

There are plenty of other great contributions pouring in but there is still time for you to send something, if you have a Beat-tinged piece on crime, or even a Beat-related bit of work. We are happy to look at your submissions. Deadline is in two weeks on November 1.

Beatdom 12 should roll off the presses in the first weeks of December, so save some cash in that holiday budget of yours to get a nice present for yourself!

Cover photo: Max Kobal/Copyright: Zeena Schreck.
Graphic Design: Waylon Bacon

Something New! Beatdom Book Club Discussion Group – “Brother-Souls”

When we interviewed Ann Charters in our current issue, Beatdom Eleven, she brought up the relationship between Jack Kerouac and John Clellon Holmes and the importance of Holmes in the evolution of the seminal style, syntax and spirit of Beat Literature, as demonstrated by Kerouac’s daily digestion of each page as Holmes’ novel, Go.

Here is a slice of that interview…
Ann Charters – “I can understand (Alene) Lee’s anger at Kerouac after he appropriated her story in The Subterraneans (though at the request of Grove Press she signed a paper giving her consent). What he did to his friend John Clellon Holmes in that autobiographical novel was much worse: Kerouac portrayed Holmes as such a wimpy rival that the literary portrait trapped him for eternity as “the quiet Beat” just as a fly is trapped in amber. Sam and I tried to redress that wrong in our recent biography Brother-Souls: John Clellon Holmes, Jack Kerouac, and the Beat Generation. It was a difficult book to write, but one of its pleasures was the opportunity to give Holmes back his voice as a writer who was an enormous influence on Kerouac during the years 1948 to 1951, especially in Jack’s creation of the “scroll” version of On the Road.
I don’t think I should have written more about Alene Lee in my early biography (Kerouac, 1973), because she didn’t play a major role in Jack’s life. Much later when I found out from the English Beat scholar Oliver Harris that she had typed the manuscript of Burroughs and Ginsberg’s The Yage Letters, I included that information in Brother-Souls to give her credit.
But I wish I had known more about Holmes’ long friendship with Kerouac when I wrote the
biography, because Holmes was a major influence and he deserves much more credit for his role as a Beat novelist, poet, and historian. Certainly Holmes’ memoir Nothing More to Declare and his novel Go are major achievements in the Beat literary canon. Jack read every chapter of Go as it left John’s typewriter, and it helped break the emotional log-jam that prevented him from writing about his road trips with Neal Cassady.”

This caught our interest so we were very pleased at the arrival of Brother-Souls in the old Beat Mailbox. A full review of this terrific work will appear in the next issue of Beatdom…Issue Twelve, The Crime Issue.The thing is – the book is much more that what we expected, so we are reading slowly and savoring. Instead of a basic nuts-and-bolts account of the facts, this is a volume that reads with the excitement of any of the best Beat novels. Though more factually forward and to the point than the diamond-hard poetic styles of description which infused On The Road, Go, The Dharma Bums, etc., we still get the adventures, the substance of an era frozen in time, and all the usual suspects – and then some!
Before we even arrived at chapter one, the three page prologue dazzled us with an array of “Who’s Who In Hip”…we come across the names of the Velvet Underground, The Fugs, Bob Dylan, Allen Ginsberg, Ed Saunders, Diane di Prima, Andy Warhol, Charles Olson, Peter Orlovski, Anne Waldman, Timothy Leary…even W.H. Auden walks through to buy a newspaper…Will they all show up eventually? Perhaps not all of them but it certainly grabbed our interest immediately.
By force of habit, we opened the book to a random page to see what we found and, there on page 179, we have Neal Cassady sending Holmes, in the words of the former, “Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo-EEEE! A real whiz of a letter” in his typical ebullience! What more can you look for in a quick introduction to the text?
If you are reading this post you are probably on this site for a reason – to learn about, celebrate or simply enjoy that which is Beat Culture and Literature. To that end, we suggest you go out to a store, click on, break out the Kindle – however you prefer to do it – get yourself a copy of Brother-Souls and read it. When we went to our local library to see if we could get a copy, we couldn’t. Utilizing the inter-library loan service, we were shocked to find that not a single public library in the State of Pennsylvania had a copy.
That is just pathetic.
So, if you are used to getting reading materials and books at the local branch and they do not have it, or are not aware of it here is all the information they need to order a copy…
Give them the information and don’t cut them any slack if they argue!

Brother-Souls: John Clellon Holmes, Jack Kerouac, and the Beat Generation
By Ann Charters and Samuel Charters
University Press of Mississippi
ISBN 978-1-60473-579-6, hardback, $35
Email –

If they can afford multiple copies of that Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, let them know they can get something besides that sort of drivel for your tax dollar. This is literary history and it belongs in any and every self-respecting library!

Before Issue Twelve appears with the full review, we will post a short version of Brother-Souls on this site. We would love to open up a discussion and have you send us your comments. If you already read it, please post a comment and start a forum here. For the fun of it, please include the city and country you are writing from.
If you have to give the clerk at Barnes and Noble a hard time to get your copy, tell us about that, too! Let’s all read a great book together and have some fun doing it. If you like, we can have discussions on other books in the future.
What do you say?
Be there or be square!!!

A Few Words From Patti Smith On Writing and Beats

On May 15, Patti Smith told us about her new record, Banga, and some of the source for the title track’s inspiration, Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita. We have been listening to the new music a lot, enjoying it immensely, and looking forward to seeing Patti perform on tour with Neil Young this fall. On the recording, she does a very nice version of Young’s “After The Gold Rush.”

At interview time, we were told by Columbia/Sony Entertainment that Patti could only speak about the new release and we had come prepared to ask her some ‘Beat’ questions. As you can see in the following exchange, the second part of our interview with the poet/writer/entertainer, she was gracious and more than happy to stray from the subject of the new music, which we had not had time to fully digest at the time of the talk. This is the second section of the interview. In the third, Patti tells us what she has been reading lately, what she suggests for others’ reading lists and who she would meet if allowed to travel through time. The complete interview will be printed in Beatdom, Issue Twelve – The Crime Issue.

They told me I could only ask you about your new album.

You don’t have to do that…ask what you want.

Thanks! Well, speaking of the album, you wrote the song “Nine” for Johnny Depp and I read interviews where you tell how he helped you by recording the title track, “Banga.” He was close to Allen Ginsberg, so we wondered if you met him through Ginsberg?

No…I knew Allen since I was quite young. I met Johnny when he came to one of my concerts a few years ago. We talked and then started off on Allen. We both love books and we spent a lot of time talking about [Jack] Kerouac and Dylan Thomas. Johnny has letters of [Antonin] Artaud and Dylan Thomas. We spoke a lot about literature and music and became very good friends.
A lot of our friendship is book-based.

So, about your writing process…

I am always writing…always…and always have two or three projects going simultaneously because my mind is so active…like I’m writing poems and writing little songs and am working on my detective story and some other things. So, writing is part of my daily discipline, whether it’s for my website ( or anything else I do…it’s the one consistent discipline I’ve had since I was thirteen years old that I continue to exercise every day.

I write by hand in my notebooks and on the computer. I don’t write so much on the typewriter anymore. I always loved the typewriter, but it’s so complicated to get ribbons and things, so I switched over to transcribing on computer — but I initially write in my notebooks.

Do you have favorite pens?

I have a very nice pen collection. I have been given beautiful pens by my son and daughter…I have a very nice, small white Montblanc and I have very nice old fountain pens and sometime’s it’s just a Bic. There is always some pen in my pocket but I sometimes get sentimental towards certain pens. Sometimes I just use a little Uni-Ball. It depends what’s in my pocket but I have very nice pens at home. I like those little Montblanc Mozarts. I think they are called the “Mozart Series.” They’re small, they’re a ballpoint and they have a really nice weight and you can put them in your pocket. That’s sort of my upscale pen of choice. I write with whatever’s there, though, you know?

Sometimes…if I’m on computer…well, I like to write fast and then go back and edit. I don’t like to edit as I am writing and sometimes I can get in a groove at night. When I’m writing late at night sometimes I sit at my computer and, if I’m like writing more of a rap, like if I’m doing something for my website. I usually do my website right on the computer…a lot of times it’s just sort of like rappin’ and if I’m working on a poem or something like that, I always write by hand.

Listening to “Rock N Roll Nigger,” the structure seems reminiscent of “Howl.” Was that by design?

It’s just what we did. I always acknowledge the people who influence me or inspire me but I’m not really conscious of exactly how. I just know that I’ve learned from them but I don’t consciously do a piece of work to mirror another piece – if it does, it’s just because someone else will usually pick up on it, probably subconsciously.

We read that Allen had a lot of influence on you coming out of retirement some years ago…

Allen was more influential to me when I was younger. He was just so vocal. He was so successful at marshaling people, at gathering large troops of people to speak out against the government, to strike…so that was his major influence on me.

I often talk about Allen. When you do a hundred interviews, it all depends on how they are edited. I’ve talked about Allen many times – about how, of course, he was instrumental. He called me up; called my house and inspired me. He said that I should come and let the people help me with my grieving process and let my Loved One go on his journey. I’ve talked about that on the liner notes of my record…many, many times. I’m always doing something for Allen, reading his poems…paying tribute. There is only so much you can say in one little interview but I am always grateful to Allen.

How about the other Beats?

I was very attached to William [Burroughs]. I knew Gregory, Gregory Corso, very well…and Peter Orlovsky. I met Hubert Huncke.
I was very privileged to know these people and I had different relationships with them all. Gregory was very, very important to me in my learning process of how to deliver poems live…and in my reading list.

But William was the one I was most attached to. I just adored him. I had sort of a crush on him when I was younger and he was very good to me. He really liked my singing and encouraged me to sing. He used to come to CBGB to see us and, of course, his work inspired me. Horses, the opening of Horses, with Johnny’s confrontation in the locker room, was very inspired by William’s The Wild Boys. In The Wild Boys there is also a ‘Johnny.’ My ‘Johnny’ is a continuation of William’s ‘Johnny.’

William really taught me a lot about how to conduct myself as a human being, you know? Not to compromise and to do things my way. What William always said was, “The most precious thing you ever have is your name so don’t taint it. Build your name and everything else will come. Keep your name clean.” I learned a lot from William.

Listen to Patti’s newest album “Banga” on Columbia Records and for more fun, visit her website,!

The Nature of Beatdom Issue 11

Dear Readers,
We certainly hope that you like to look at pictures – because this is about as many as we think we can squeeze into a single post. ***in June, 2016, all photos were wiped from our website

The idea is to show that, while the ebook and kindle formats are handy, Beatdom is still fun to have your own personal copy of, like in the old days of the literary journal, when you stuck it in your pocket or bag and pulled it out to read while on the bus, at the doctor’s office or in a crowded movie theater while some delinquent threw JuJubes in your hair.

While we all know you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, anybody who is familiar with French poet Arthur Rimbaud and the poem, ‘After The Deluge,’ from his earth-shattering collection ‘Illuminations,’ will spot him right away, That is thanks to the keen handiwork of multi-faceted artist Waylon Bacon, who graced the front cover of this issue with his brilliant dexterity and use of color.

It is a treat to get to see him do something for us in deep rich tones, since he has had to restrain himself to using black and white ever since we changed the format to that of the classic, standard old-style 6×9-inch black and white format, used by most literary journals.

In the following story by Katy Gurin, ‘Grizzly Bear,’ you can see more of Waylon’s work, only in the b/w format. This is still another excellent short story by Katy, about what can happen when people commune a little too closely with nature. This tale showcases her usual splendid imagination and wonderful gift for detail. Stuck in between there, shown on the back cover, since most people look at the front and back before opening it, is the advertisement for the next fiction release from Beatdom Books, ‘Egypt Cemetery,’ a memoir by Editor Michael Hendrick, which will be available soon at the usual outlets.

It is also worth noting that Katy will be publishing a full volume of her short stories with Beatdom Books, later this year. That volume will be illustrated by Waylon, since the two of them make such a great team for two people who have never even met each other. As Katy’s story continues the partygoers dressed as bears start to act more like bears just for the drunken fun of it.

Waylon not only provided the fine images you see here – but also managed to include some of his favorite monsters, like Frankenstein’s monster, his Bride, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, the Phantom of the Opera, and some weird looking what-cha-ma-callits, that only he sees when he closes his eyes at night.

Bears like to catch fish but fishtank owners are not always appreciative. As you can see, our half-drunk pseudo-bears wander out into the Halloween night and do all the things bears are wont to do, until they are confronted by a real bear. How Katy thinks this stuff up is a mystery to us but we have been lucky enough to have her writing such inventive stories with truly absorbing plots since she was kind enough to provide us with her very first and fabulous yarn, ‘Meat From Craigslist,’ back in Issue Number Nine.

Next we have a look at the life of William S. Burroughs during his days as a farmer, written by Editor David S. Wills. Burroughs didn’t do so well working the land but Mr. Wills has been farming up quite a bit of information on the pistol-happy author while lurking about the Burroughs Archives at the New York City Public Library lately. Watch for more!

Somehow, archaeologist, activist and Beatdom regular Robin Como managed to find time to write two more of her intoxicatingly exquisite poems for your pleasure and if she doesn’t run away, we hope to have her back with more in our next issue!

Michael Hendrick tracked down Shelton Hank Williams, aka Hank Williams III, aka Hank3, on Thanksgiving Day morning last year, forcing him to hold a copy of Beatdom Issue Nine and interviewing him on topics ranging from going to Hell, to how his grandfather wrote one of the first recorded rock songs before rock’n’roll was invented, to the Right to Bear Arms.

Taking time out from his extensive studies, returning writer Rory Feehan penned this account of still another famous sharp-shooter, Hunter S. Thompson and his ventures and misadventures while living a not so quiet existence at perhaps California’s favorite Beat retreat, Big Sur.

While everybody was awaiting the release of the film version of Jack Kerouac’s ‘On The Road,’ Mr. Wills tracked down the last remaining live male character depicted in the movie, Al Hinkle, who Kerouac called Ed Dunkel in the book. Mr. Hinkle is delighted to appear here.

Assistant Editor Kat Hollister, who labored intensively to help put this issue together marked her first appearance in Beatdom with the poem you see below; her efforts were rewarded by the dubious distinction of having it placed across from a poem by returning Beat literate Chuck Taylor, on the dodgy subject of his erection. Mr. Taylor dug up the old form of ‘doggerel’ to justify it, along with the fact that we are the only journal who would risk publishing it.

Where have you seen this face before? On the cover, it’s Arthur Rimbaud again, next to an essay by poet Larry Beckett, who takes apart the aforementioned poem, ‘After The Deluge.’ It is an insightful look at one of Rimbaud’s best know works, and also gives us a glimpse at the fantastic style of literary critique to be found in Mr. Beckett’s upcoming offering from Beatdom Books, ‘Beat Poetry.’

Matthew Levi Stevens is a new name to Beatdom readers and here he presents us with a review of the latest collection of letters written by William S. Burroughs when he was still living as an expatriate.

Kat Hollister, following the indignity of having her poem placed facing Mr. Taylor’s doggerel, was happy to find a spot next to this wonderful photograph, ‘wetlands in march no.2,’ by well-known nature photographer, g. thompson higgins.

Artist/Photographer/Musician and Writer, Zeena Schreck returned again this issue, with this touching and enlightening article. She writes of how she and multi-talented husband, Nikolas Schreck, stepped up and acted to save the lives of eighty wolves, diverting their carriage to safe habitat as they were being sent to an otherwise slow and cruel death.

Ann Charters, a name familiar to everybody in the world of Beat Literature and Literary History spoke with Mr. Hendrick, on working with Kerouac, the beginnings of Beat, her meeting with Alene Lee and the importance of John Clellon Holmes to the Beat Generation.

Internationally renowned poet Michael Shorb, a strong voice on environmental issues, was kind enough to grace our pages with this, his first appearance in Beatdom.

Reaching past Rimbaud to William Blake, Mr. Wills weighs in with a quick word on the literary influence of one of the most visionary of voices and his influence on the Beats.

When we think of Beat we think of the road and it is hard to think of a band who pounded the pavement harder than the Ramones. Richie Ramone, the fastest of the fast, spoke with Mr. Hendrick about life on the road, his forays into the Big Band sounds of the Drum Gods and his activism on behalf of pooches in peril in Los Angeles.

As usual, Waylon won’t go back into his cage until he gets one last bite on the hand the doesn’t feed him, so we leave you with him and his now traditional ‘last page, last word.’ This one, Waylon aptly titled ‘Sometimes Eye Gets Crazy!’

The Wild, Weird, Wacked, Warped, Whimsical Wonder of Waylon Bacon!

The creation is almost done. He makes a few adjustments to his equipment, then fiddles with some gadgets. The air is static and the storm rages. Sparks fly and the energy is frightening. Ygor hides in the shadows, watching him and giggling maniacally at what is about to be set loose upon the unsuspecting world. Sweat rolls down his forehead, what appears to be a grimace is suddenly changed to a smile as the corners of his mouth turn, trembling upward into a demonic smile. Tension mounts. The lightning strikes. Sparks fly.
His eyes widen in a cross between dementia and joy.
“It’s alive,” he says softly.
“It’s alive,” he repeats, voice raising in horrific excitement.
“It’s alive!” he shouts, raising his fists, as if to challenge God in his demonic triumph!
It’s alive!!!!

Seen this before? Then you were probably in the studio of Waylon Bacon, Beatdom‘s own beloved illustrator who has helped bring issue after issue to life with his drawings, illustrations and the marvelous cover art he produced for the cover of our latest issue; the colorful image/interpretation of the classic Arthur Rimbaud poem, “After the Flood.” You thought we we referring to Colin Clive in Frankenstein, and we may just as well have been, given Waylon’s predisposition to horror, zombies, drooling ghouls and famous monsters of the film world.

Our talented Mr. Bacon is a true modern Renaissance Man. Besides his delightful work in Beatdom, he has established himself as a well-respected and renowned filmmaker; amazing his fans regularly with screenings at the San Francisco Underground Short Film Festival, the Berkeley Short Film Festival, the Comic Con International Film Festival, the B Movie Underground & Trash Film Festival in the Netherlands, and the Fright Night Horror Film Festival in Louisville, Kentucky. He is currently working on filming his first foray into the music video realm, which can be a horror in itself, and also is a regular monthly contributor to Cinesource Magazine, with cartoons on the subject of filmmaking.

Any true fan of the horror film genre is familiar with FANGORIA (the First in Fright since 1979) and the magazine’s David Pace interviewed Waylon last year. On the big screen, Waylon’s first notable effort was his storyboarding and conceptualization for the 2012 flick Excision, which not only went on to play at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, but which also includes appearances by such well-known names as Traci Lords, Malcolm McDowell, Marlee Matlin and the most awesome John Waters…acting out scenes originally sketched by Waylon!

While we do not have any of his horror-related work on hand to show you, it can easily be found on his website,, which has a little misinformation about Beatdom on it, but we have to forgive him for that or else he may bite us in the neck! No one-trick-pony, his work is magificently detailed, as seen on the cover of our latest, Issue Eleven, where anybody familiar with classic French poetry can spot the image of Rimbaud from across a crowded room and identify the subject. Another example of his fine eye for detail is this terrific illustration of Lenny Bruce, which he produced for our Issue Ten.

Look at the fine detail. Note the covers of Lenny’s albums in the background, painstakingly copied to perfection by his coffee-stained fingers. It is a truly remarkable piece of art, and how could you expect anything less? We have paired him up with our short story writers, and in doing so, all readers, especially readers of the print edition where you can truly see the magnificence of his craft, get to experience images such as the one below.

From our talented Katy Gurin’s story, “Meat From Craigslist”:

Here is another from the same story…

Or this one, from “Forever Stung,” a short story by Beatdom Editor Michael Hendrick…

We could go on forever because his body of work is so voluminous for a man his age, but we highly recommend that you go to to view his short films there and look at his other work. View his films: Help Wanted, My Worst Nightmare, Bob and Poster Boy. Marvel at his work. As Bad Lit: The Journal of Underground Film said, “When it comes to creating sickening nightmares, it’s hard to top San Francisco-based filmmaker Waylon Bacon.”

And so we leave you with one final piece from Beatdom, where we have given Waylon the last page of every issue to do whatever he wants. It is a more serious piece from Issue Ten, the Religion Issue. We posted this to let you all know that Waylon is not the creepy, ghoulish, horrific, frightening, insanely maniacal, drunken drug addict that he appears to be – we set the record straight on that – he does NOT take drugs.

Beatdom wishes Waylon the best in all of his endeavors, but we like the ones he does for us the best!

AFTERWORD: Well, folks, when we wrote this post we did not have any of Waylon’s color work available. As you all know, Beatdom assumed the format of more traditional literary journals starting with Issue Nine, and these next couple images are from a short story by the esteemed educator, photographer and writer, Chuck Taylor. While the traditional format is handier and fits in a pocket or handbag, we do miss seeing the work of Waylon in color. While his art is incomparable and uniquely original, we like to think that his color work evokes the spirit of a demented Walt Disney channeling through R. Crumb…but the style is really 100% Waylon Bacon.

We offer these samples for your guaranteed enjoyment. They appeared in Beatdom Issue Eight, the Sex Issue, complimenting Mr. Taylor’s great story, “Whores Who Were My Friends.”
We trust you will dig these!

The first is titled Sex For Free and the second is Hundred Dollars.

Forever Stung

By  Michael Hendrick

Illustration by Waylon Bacon

A spate of Christian/spiritual music washed over the AM/FM airwaves in the early-1970s. Jesus Christ Superstar primed the pump, and Norman Greenbaum had made spirituality a Top Ten hit the year before with his rocking Spirit In the Sky. In Eighth Grade,  my eighth year of going to the Holy Mass six days a week, a progressive nun from Philadelphia mimeographed lyrics to these and other pseudo-spiritual tunes, like Bridge Over Troubled Waters and I Am A Rock by Simon and Garfunkel. Passing out the lyrics pages, she explained the spiritual introspection in songs and managed to slip a bit of ‘Popery’ into the messages, as well.

Around that time, my grandfather died.  In those days, three days of wakes preceded the Funeral Mass…probably because it took that long to dig through the snow and frozen turf of snow belt cemeteries. My Uncle Keith, a classic example of the 1960s folk-guitar-priest, attended each day. As a priest, he employed great communications skills; he listened and responded to me as he would to an adult but the main impression he left upon me, The Impressionable Boy in Puberty,  lie in his kindness. At a difficult age when adults yelled at me everywhere I went or some short, older jocks from the high school took turns threatening me, a little kindness made for a long and lasting memory.

By the time George Harrison crackled through the radio with My Sweet Lord, Christ invaded my thoughts and pushed the horoscope and Zolar zodiac books to the side, making way for The Bible. If any kid stood ready for a conversion, it was me.

Buses from public schools carried public school students. A freshman at Holy Catholic High School, in the city, I rode city buses. Bus stops, in the 1950s-1970s USA, provided a convenient place for strange people to queue up. Drunks, head cases, the elderly, the young and the poor – the same groups we now view as ‘disenfranchised’ – waited for buses at every odd corner.

“I used to be Jerry Lewis’s father!” a hulking brute of a man, with a more pockmarks than I ever saw on a face before, told me, assertively. I did not argue.

A crazy-looking biker type with longish red hair, freckles, two missing upper front teeth and a welder’s cap turned backwards on his head, told me we could ‘share a hit of microdot,’ whatever that was, if I gave him a dollar. I saw him before. He infrequently rode the bus all the way out to Egypt, the village where I lived. Knowing nothing about drugs, I gave him a buck, along with an excuse about why I didn’t want my half. He took the cash and hurried away. It was only a dollar.

Another guy looked like a rock star, standing back from the curb, stylish unisex shirt with very short sleeves revealing thin arms with no hint of muscle but wrists hardly visible under bracelets, chains, braided strings and other baubles. Hair fell to his shoulders in a fashionably- long, black shag.  It was the best one I had seen since David Cassidy in The Partridge Family. He wore a large, red button on his chest, which said, in raised white letters, “GET SMART GET SAVED”, and his belt held several pouches, one revealing a row of colored highlighting markers. The crazy guy from Egypt only wanted a dollar; the cool-looking dude with the shag sought my soul. A big, goofy kid who attracted these types simply by dint of being well over six feet tall and having shoulder-length blonde hair, I understood neither.  It turned out that he was a senior at the same high school I attended. Living close, he could go home after classes, lose the suit and tie, then hit the streets in fashion, ‘cool for Christ’. Being friends with a cool, long-haired senior gave me added credibility in my freshman year.

The Forever Family formed in 1971 in Allentown, PA, as a loose band of rag-tag former hippies and disillusioned druggies. They sought comfort and spirituality and brotherhood and fellowship, all the things this thirteen-year-old needed. Relating to the other kids at school had always been problematic. We had moved from New York into a hick town when I was six and I never caught onto the secretive ways of the Pennsylvania Dutch and other clannish peoples who mostly populated the area. I was different and not used to acceptance. When Jack, the guy with the shag, started talking to me, there was a warmth and understanding to him, sort of like with Uncle Keith. In the beginning, The Forever Family was pretty pure. Everybody was kind and open and it gave me a place to go after school and on weekends. The main thing one had to do, obviously, was to get saved, like the button said. The buttons were sort of the beginning of the end, however, as far as the pure essence of the Family. People banded around Chip, a charismatic hippie-looking guy with reddish hair and beard, and a warm and ever-ready smile. He exuded comfort. The Family existed here and there in the public parks and at the house of Chip and his wife, Sam. The house being just a few blocks from the high school, it was a place to go when skipping class or waiting for the bus. It provided refuge.

According to many, trouble began with those buttons, which were the invention of Stewart Traill, now leader of the Church of Bible Understanding (COBU). The COBU is based in Scranton, PA, and makes most of its cash from diverting funds donated for the running of their mission in Haiti, various internet and newspaper sources reveal. Traill devised the “GET SMART GET SAVED” button. They were big, bright and drew attention. Both well-known and oft-hated, these buttons caught the eye and allowed the wearer to go to work. Work, in this version, was the saving of Souls, the conversion to Christ through the auspicious Holy Spirit, who would often make guest appearances at the mall fountain in front of the Orange Julius stand on Friday and Saturday nights. That Holy Spirit would come right into the mall and cleanse those Souls whenever summoned. I went for it. I accepted the Holy Spirit.  I promised to focus all my life on Christ as my only salvation.

At my own behest,  I adopted a uniform of black jeans and black tee shirt, with a hand-made leather pouch on my belt to carry a miniature Bible and some leaflets (known as tracts to the professional faithful) on how to save yourself and become one of us. A lot of people, mostly in my own real family, mocked my new, always-blackened presence, some referring to me as ‘the Father’. The button never appeared in my wardrobe, however. I am not sure if this was because of Stewart or myself. Buttons were awarded to ‘lambs’ who memorized ten Bible verses, picked by Stewart. Being very adept at memorization, ten verses would not have been a problem. Once you had the button, you were raised a level and given responsibility – mostly for bringing in new members.

Maybe my lifelong pattern of shirking responsibility saved me in this instance. On the other hand, all the other members were about six or seven years older than me.  Jack was closest in age. A thirteen-year-old does not hold as much sway as an older acolyte. Either way, it was lucky that I was just a bit too young.  Most followers were in late-teens or early-twenties and Stewart was in his late-thirties. Traill was a strong presence, who took the role of leader of the family from Chip, simply by constant badgering and intimidation of family members. He likened himself to Moses and Elijah and came on as a sort of John Lennon-like figure, with frame-less wire-rimmed glasses. Like Lennon he had a habit of growing long hair and beard, then shaving both to leave them grow again. It is significantly coincidental to note that the place where Traill met Chip, the Robin Hood Dell section of Allentown’s Lehigh Parkway park system, was often frequented by the real John Lennon, who lived nearby in NYC and brought his son, Sean, there in the last years of his life.

Traill picked out clothes for his wife, Shirley, to wear which were very sexually revealing; micro-mini skirts and low cut blouses, heels. She was his Yoko imitation, although I doubt that Yoko would have been told what to wear. The clothes seemed out of place but they did make me horny, the desired effect, no doubt. He weighed her on a scale in front of family members regularly and spanked her if she weighed too much. He forced her to ask permission to go to the bathroom. This part of Traill’s personal life did not seem to jibe with the message of the Good News…neither did the attack on his son, who was beaten senseless by several church members for publicly disagreeing with his father. Much of this was unknown to me at the time. My mind found distraction in what other followers wore, how they spoke and acted – after all, I needed role models and some of the Family members were very cool. I cannot say that I ever had a conversation with Stewart. Perhaps due to my age, he felt I was useless – since I was not old enough to work and hand over my wages and was too naive to be truly influential to adults. Chip and Sam always showed me warmth and grace and made me feel welcome. I tended to stick close to them as much as possible.

What did I care? I had a place to go after school and on weekends where I was accepted. Acceptance and separation are the two cudgels of cult power. Anti-parent sentiment ran hot. We were often reminded that Jesus said, “I did not come to bring peace; but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father and a daughter against her mother.” I had enough friction going on between my dad and myself, that this line alone kept me hanging around. The Lambs of God brought in the sheep of Stewart but I was an innocuous kid, just along for the ride, really. I had been hearing about the Holy Trinity at school and church six days a week and listening to them on the radio. The hippie-looking girls and the way they dressed were the main draw for me. I didn’t enjoy ‘witnessing the word’ with one of the red-buttoned ‘lambs’ as much as I did my own personal conversions of the souls of paisley chicks with tight jeans.

Besides saving souls at the Orange Julius, we witnessed in public parks, did community activities, like help the Red Cross assist victims of a recent hurricane by working in their clothes/food/distribution center (my first volunteer job in a history of 42 years of volunteering – so something stuck), studied Bible verse and discussed it and wandered, fairly aimlessly, looking for more souls. Sometimes we would set up elaborate scenes in public restaurants to attract the attention of other diners and then drop our message on them.

On Bible study – another bad thing about having the “GET SMART GET SAVED” button were the accompanying charges of being a ‘lamb’, such as the memorization of Stewart’s convenient Bible color-code system, wherein followers divine the truths in the Holy Word by marking certain passages with certain colors of highlighter markers. The color system presents a very primitive system of mind control. Certain colors hold different significance, while others make us feel different ways. If a color can evoke a feeling, then drenching a particular verse in a certain color imbues it with that feeling. Red causes aggression in humans just as it does in bulls. Having once been attacked by a bull while donning a red shirt, I can say this is no urban legend. Just as he usurped the leadership of the family through pushiness and intimidation, Traill had seen Jack color-coding his Bible, as we had been taught to do with our notes in high school, and thereby stole the ‘idea’ and ‘invented’ the Color Code.

The coding took the fun out of the words and isolated them into specific messages. Color psychology has undergone many changes since the 1970s but it is still no less effective than it was to the ancient Greeks, who slept in white to purify their dreams. Controlling the mind through color is subtle and effective. It must be. By the end of the decade, Traill presided over an estimated 65 ‘fellowship houses’ and real estate holdings including mansions in Florida and Philadelphia and four private jets. The money built up as he went through a well-thought-out process of collecting old vacuum cleaners from the trash, fixing them and reselling them, then expanding the vacuum sales into a vacuum cleaning business with followers in major US cities working for a dollar a day and donating the rest of their wages to the church, so it could buy more land and vacuums. The business still thrives, along with a series of second-hand shops which resell items plucked from trash or handed over to the church when followers give up the world and all that is worldly. It became so well known that a popular episode of the Seinfeld TV series focused an eopisode around them, calling them the “Carpet Cleaning Cult,” after their real business name of Christian Brothers Carpet Cleaning.

Some valuable lessons stuck to me from those days of cornering strangers and talking them into submitting to the Holy Spirit. How to use a person’s own words to trap them, how to manipulate the meaning of certain words and simple verbal bullying techniques – these methods stuck to me and helped me through life in becoming successful at sales jobs and getting Jehovah’s Witnesses off my doorstep. Developing a knowledge of scripture still comes in handy, as a choice line from the Holy Book will easily stymie an argument and allow me to ‘one up’ a verbal opponent…particularly if they are the moralistic type.

Near the end of my association with the Forever Family, news of a big meeting with a communal Baptism made the rounds. Taking place on a Sunday, it would be hard for me to sneak away from dinner at home and find a way to the church and back. No buses ran on Sunday and I had not learned how to properly hitch a ride yet. A resounding ‘NO’ met my request to attend the meeting, so my natural instinct to run away from home appeared and off I went. The meeting took place at an established church with an Evangelical ministry. A mix of regular church members and scruffy-cool Forever Family members filled the pews. Baptism took place in a large swimming pool, dug and built in the shape of the cross. The minister presided over his regular service and, towards the end, welcomed us, who had been reborn via Baptism of Spirit, and invited us to be baptized in the symbolic water. We shuffled into a room behind the altar, where we were given white robes to wear into the pool.

My dad carried a .50 caliber machine gun in the Third Marine Division, where he served three tours of duty in the Pacific Theater of World War Two, gunning down Japanese soldiers. I imagine he wore the same expression on his face when he pulled the trigger as the one he wore as he burst through the door behind the altar with my mother, who seemed bewildered but peeved. “…all that money..,” she repeated a few times. Not yet in my robe, my old man grabbed me and out we went. A bunch of astonished lambs looked on with mouths agape. Numerous lectures intertwined in the voices from the front seat of the car, as we rode home and I stared out the back windows, singing to myself in my head. Years later, my mother would recall the “trashcans full to the top with money” that she had seen as they hunted around behind the scenes, trying to find me in the temple. “…all that money…” A depression-age baby, it sort of haunted her.

In days to come, I still found my way out of class and sneaking down to the Forever  Family house. Things were changing. Expanding the business and setting up new houses, along with objections to the ruthless ways of Stewart, drove a lot of family members out of the cult and back into the rote of their pre-‘saved’ days. Some kids at school trusted me now, having seen me hanging with the group of long-haired freaks, and offered me drugs and other forms of companionship. Something about going out collecting vacuum cleaners did not appeal to me, not for free, anyway.

No taste of the Christ ever killed my natural instinct to make money to buy myself things my parents didn’t know about.  My mom took a real tip from the experience, and, seeing how well I could corner strangers verbally, one day she dragged me into the General Nutrition Store (GNC) at the mall and lied about my age, telling them that her sixteen- year-old needed a job.  Soon, on nights and weekends, I found myself accosting strangers with a spoonful of sunflower seeds, petitioning them to ‘try our Zesty Sunflower Seeds!’, as the light of the Orange Julius glared at me from the other end of the mall.