How the muses kill . . . and fulfill at the same time

Banner by R.D Francis: Kurt Vonnegut image courtesy of brainpickings.org and”Warhol” image processing via imgonline.com.ua (Ukraine)

“Go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”
— Kurt Vonnegut

And with that Vonnegut-bred tenacity, I write.

Movie reviews. Music…


December 27, 1945 — March 28, 2021

Neil Merryweather, left, with the Space Rangers

Canadian rock singer, bass player and songwriter Neil Merryweather recorded and performed with musicians including Steve Miller, Dave Mason, Lita Ford, Billy Joel, and Rick James. He passed away on March 29, 2021, in Las Vegas, Nevada, after a short battle with cancer.

Neil Merryweather, influenced by David Bowie with his Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars project, achieved his low-selling, yet critically acclaimed creative peak of seventies excess with two heavy-psych space-rock albums from his Space Rangers project, released in 1974 and 1975.


Jim Morrison’s Doppelganger Behind Phantom’s Divine Comedy

Arthur Pendragon, with Pendragon, live on the stage in the early ’80s at Detroit’s Harpos.

Two video tributes to the Phantom — one with newly discovered photos of the Phantom (and news clipping) — appears within this article.

The late Phantom, born as Ted Pearson, later, legally changing his name to Arthur Pendragon, would have been 70 years old this year, as he was born on April 23, 1951. He left us on March 28, 1999, on the 25th anniversary of the release of his rock opera, The Divine Comedy, by Walpurgis, which was released as Phantom’s Divine Comedy: Part 1, in 1974.

By July of 1974 the rock ’n’ roll dreams of Ted Pearson…


Top Ten Highlights

Image: Multiple Sites/Text: Picfont

February 10, 1978: a day that changed hard rock music forever with the release Van Halen’s self-titled debut album.

Fueled by the FM radio hits of “Eruption,” “You Really Got Me,” “Ain’t Talkin’ ’bout Love,” “Running with the Devil,” and “Jamie’s Cryin’” the album eventually broke the U.S Billboard Album Top 20 to peak at #19 and sell more than a Diamond-certification of 10 million copies in the U.S. Not bad for an album that had its start as a three-track demo in 1976 financed by Gene Simmons of Kiss. The album was eventually recorded by ex-Harpers Bizarre guitarist and…


The First Three Chapters of a Dream Suite

Book cover and banner design by R.D Francis/courtesy of Pixabay and PicFont

1

THE future is now. The science is no longer fiction. The science is a reality.

True, man hasn’t perfected a one-push-of-a-button gravity field that miraculously allows us to effortless take a causal walk through the park of a space vessel, but man is now able to pilot their own, unmanned versions Bishop Wilkins’s mythical “flying chariots” for travels far beyond the limited parameters of Jules Verne’s fantasies of traveling From the Earth to the Moon.

And while man may never achieve the technology to bridge the 70,000 Earth-year gap journey to Promixa Centauri down to the span of man’s…


The first four chapters of a sci-fi horror tale

On July 24, 1701, French explorer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac founded Fort de Pontchartrain de Detroit in New France, a geographical area on the former North American continent that bordered what was once Eastern Canada in the north to the former American southern state of Louisiana along the Gulf of Mexico. Between the years of 1710 and 1716 he was the governor of the Louisiana territory and he formerly commanded Fort de Buade, later known as the Michigan city of St. Ignace, in 1694. The city was named after St. …


The first four chapters of a Gothic anthology

1 — Cathedral

IN the year 750 A.D of the 8th century, morning rises on Gothic architecture’s finest monument, Cathedral of Our Lady Chartres, perched on a hill off the River Eure in Chartres, France. Her twin spires rise as salvation beacons on the horizon of lush countryside farmland.

A horseback phalanx of six infantrymen with shields and spears escort a white steed mounted by a man in his early thirties — Witch Hunter Andre de Lorde.

The phalanx comes to a halt at the rear of the cathedral. The infantrymen dismount. Two stand guard with swords drawn, while two…


The first four chapters of a Gothic horror tale

1

THE tenth verse of the first book of Ecclesiastes embodies the futility of the dreams of man:

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be;
and that which is done is that which shall be done:
and there is no new thing under the sun.

And the dream of Jonathan Kinski always begins the same. His folly is that he dared to change the outcome.

Jonathan’s soul glides across a pristine snow blanket as “Le Veau d’or” from Charles Gounod’s Faust resonates across the wilds of Putnam/St. Mary’s Cemetery in Greenwich, Connecticut. As the tombstones give…


A Film Review of 1978's Smokey and the Good Time Outlaws (and other hicksploitation classics)

Banner by R.D Francis/images courtesy of Discogs

A You Tube Playlist featuring Jesse Lee Turner’s Greatest Hits/Complete Singles Compilation — All the Best — appears at the end of this article.

As you read this article (and Don’t Go Into the Hicksploitation Woods), you’ll notice there’s some fun being made at the expense of a rich, colorful culture that exists south of the Mason-Dixie line — not just by the filmmakers, but by me: the smarmy, he-thinks-he’s-so-funny, R.D Francis. On the surface, it seems this article is a celebration of the racial profiling of Southerners.

The concept of hicksploitation (also known as rednecksploitation and backwoodsploitation) is insane…


A Primer on the Wizard Behind Phantom’s Divine Comedy: Part 1

Image Left: Joel Brodsky, 1967. Image Right: Tom Weschler, 1974. Image Center, R.D Francis, 2017.

“Necessity or chance approach not me; and what I will is fate,” said poet-philosopher John Milton to Longfellow. Milton believed he could defy the wicked Fates spinning the threads of destiny.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow shook his pessimistic head at his friend’s quaint defiance and offered a more realistic response, “Thy is the common fate of all; Into each life some rain must fall.”

R D Francis

Is a screenwriter, author, music and film journalist. His work is available at Amazon, Smashwords, and B&S About Movies.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store