Great Small Businesses: @shadowworkbotanica!

This week great small business interview is on @shadowworkbotanica !

  1. How did your business start?

“As a kid, I grew up around witchcraft or brujeria more so. My father was always consulting with brujas and my grandmother, his mom, was the inspiration behind starting this path and this business. There are actually quite a few women on my fathers side that are on the Bruja path, which I find comforting and use it as confirmation that I was born to be a witch. The idea of the business came to me in waves, having to push past my fear and self limiting beliefs that told me that I couldn’t’ possibly be a business owner. I have worked a 9-5 my whole adult life, so stepping out in this way was challenging. I began my formal studies in 2016, with Germanic white witch, which is so far from the path I am now on. She taught me a lot and I felt myself awaken to plant medicine. I then found Hood Herbalism in early 2017 and continued on the path of studying, building community, and as that grew so did this voice inside me that said I had to do this beyond just making things for friends and family. It still took some time before I would get the business to where it is today. I had a very bad breakup in which my ex, out of spite, wanted to lay claim over the previous incarnation of the business, pushing me into a dark place where I didn’t want to make medicine anymore. And so I didn’t for months. I focused on moving, building a new, safe home for myself, work, and getting through the pandemic. I fell in love, and with that, came a renewed energy for life. Spirit also gave me time and then said, let’s get back to work. I launched my botanica in January 2021, with a new logo, new products, and a renewed sense of power that this is my path, and no one is going to knock me off of it. Life has happened, and as we all work to get back to “normal,” I am trying to evolve and grow this business into something that could sustain me and get me out of the 9-5 grind. Goddexx willing, this will eventually be the case.”

2. How did you come up with your business name?

“Carl Jung. Lol. I am a big fan of his work, and the concept of shadow work is something I use in my formal work as a substance use disorder counselor, which is a fancy way of saying addictions counselor. I have worked in mental health since I was 22, so it’s a play on that and on the fact that the tools I make are just that… tools to help you on your shadow work journeys. I have been on my own personal shadow work journey for many years, and continue to be a student of life in this way. I believe it’s vital for us to confront the darker aspects of ourselves, and learn to integrate the lessons we’re here to learn, so what better name than that?”

3. What are your top 3 selling products and why do you think they are so popular?

“Pain Relief Liniment. I have to say, these are also my personal favorites. Our Daily Protection Oil is a just that. Something to incorporate into your daily life, that offers an extra layer of protection from energetic sludge you might encounter in your day. I always advise my clients to make it a daily habit, creating that bond and trust between them and the plants. I am just a middle man. The plantitas, gemstones, and oils all do all the work. Our Cleansing Spray was first formulated for my office, as there are tons of heavy energies and bad vibes, which can’t be smoke cleansed away. It smells like a delicious herbal tea with hints of grapefruit. I love the smell. It’s potent, grounding, and cleansing as is its name. And lastly, the product that started it all… Grandma Clem’s. This one is named after my Abuelita Clementina, who has now passed. She always kept a jar of this infusion in her closet, and it’s a tried and true remedy for pain relief. I use this when I’ve had a long day of typing at work, and it immediately relieves the pain and stiffness. I think these products are my top selling because they’re my favorite products, not that I don’t love the others. These are just closer to my heart, and therefore that energy is felt.”

4. With the summer season coming up: What products from your store do you recommend for that season?

“My number one recommendation for summer is our Must Be Magick! Multipurpose Salve. It’s great for pain relief, muscle tension, bug bites, sunburns, dry skin, etc.”

5. Can you discuss the process of your grief consultation process?

“I added the brief consultation option because I was getting a lot of questions that required deeper thought and discussion. I like spending time with people, getting to know where they’re at on their shadow work journeys, so I can pin point what they may need. These are intuitive as well as incorporate my formal counseling skills. I am clear on my purpose thus far, and it’s to help people, and this is just another way to do that. I want to eventually offer more formal energy work sessions incorporating other modalities that I am trained in, but for now these sessions can help someone just get a little more clarity as to the next steps on their journey.”

6. Do you have any exciting news or events that you would like to share?

“Nothing so new or exciting, but overall just happy that I’m in love with someone who is literally my best friend and is going to start helping me more with the business end of things. She is amazingly smart and a true partner. Her name is Celeste, and we met in 2007 on a lesbian site called Our Chart. She says I friendzoned her immediately, but can’t fight fate. Lol. It really is crazy how when you let go of things that aren’t for you, the Universe sends you what is. She’s amazing and I can go on and on if you let me.”

If you would like more information about Edith and her store. The following contact information is below:

Esty Store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ShadowWorkBotanica

Email address: swbotanica@gmail.com

Instagram: @shadowworkbotanica

Thank you for the interview Edith!

Until Next time!

Gary Larson’s Tales from the Far Side!

Between the ages of 9-12 I was a huge obsession with Gary Larson’s comic The Far Side.

I would get the books and beg my parents to subscribe to the newspaper just so I can read the comics section every day. Just so I can be caught up with the latest of my favorite comic strips such as Peanuts, Cathy, Garfield and of course The Far Side!

So you can imagine my excite when I saw an ad in the style section about Gary Larson’s Tales from the Far Side TV Special:

Of course I set my mental clock to watch it on October 26, 1994 and when I watched it. It was literally all I ever wanted from the comic! It had dark humor, sarcasm and just to see it come to life rather then just seeing once a day in the newspaper was amazing!

Also the fact that it was Halloween theme made it so much more special for me. Since my favorite month of the year has always been October. I believe that the special was only aired once on TV so I am happy that I was able to experience back then.

I am also glad that it is available to watch on Youtube (it is also the first video in this blog post. If you want to see it Part One in it’s entirety. )

In 1997 Gary Larson followed up his Tales from the Far Side Part One with Tales from the Far Side II. That was never shown on American TV however it was broadcast on the BBC and shown in a lot of film festivals. However thanks to Youtube you can watch it below:!!

Until Next time!!!

Source: Wikipedia, Youtube

Mr. Tastee: I hardly knew you….

When I was little one of my main staple watching channels was Nickelodeon. My daily digest of TV shows ( just to name a few!!) on that channel was Clarissa Explains it all, All that, Hey Dude, Double Dare, Are you Afraid of the Dark? and of course:

Out of many of the stand out amazing characters on that series. One of my favorites was Mr. Tastee:

Mr Tastee was a homage to Mister Softee. An ice cream branded founded in Philadelphia, PA in 1956 by two brothers: William Aloysuis Conway and James Francis Conway. The brand is known by their trucks and their mascot:

In season one, episode ten of the show titled: What we did on Our Summer Vacation (Premiered on September 8, 1991). Older Pete has a deep one on one discussion with the tv audience about his definition of what starts summer. Then he starts talking about how he, the younger Pete and their friend Ellen try to find out who is the person behind the Mr. Tastee mask is. Since he is the embodiment of their definition of summer, they want to know who that person is since he only comes during that season.

However they realized that when they try to become his friend and start an intense questioning session with him(they even extend an invitation to go fishing with him.) He ends up leaving town. They desperately try to find out why he ran off in such a critical ice cream season and also figuring out the mysterious life of this solitary ice cream man.

They spend their whole summer trying to track down “the loneliest ice cream man” (Older Pete quote). It wasn’t until the end of summer that Mr. Tastee finally returned to town.

Not because he missed his customers but because he need to pick up his vacation photos. He told the kids that his primary duties as the ice cream man is just being an ice cream man. He is just here every summer to give out ice cream and that’s it. It is the ice cream man code and he must follow it.

It also made me think that in a lot of ways certain friendships and relationships are the same way. They will always hold a endearing memory but sometimes it is just that. I always feel like we had a Mr. Tastee figure in our lives at one point or another. I feel like even though The Adventures of Pete and Pete was a kid show it cover a lot of adult themes disguised in the show. It made feel like a lot of certain events that I have gone through in my adult life made me better prepared by watching and remembering certain themes and episodes from the show.

Fun facts about this episode: Michael Stipe of R.E.M played a cameo roles in this episode as another ice cream person: Captain Scrummy.

Kate Pierson from the B-52’s also had a cameo as the blind heiress Mrs. Van Devere.

Source: Wikipedia and IMDB.com

In recent news….

This morning my facebook account was hacked into. They changed my email information, password so I couldn’t retrieve my account afterwards. From what I understand Facebook asked them for more personal information to verify it was me. Probably because they were logging from a super random location that I normally would never log in from, and since that person couldn’t verify past a point. From what I understand Facebook decided to delete the account. So if you happen to be friends with me on there and my page pops up please reported it as being hacked. Because it is not me running it. Also this will be my last post that is linked through the facebook group since I can’t access the account anymore. I will continue to be very active on here as well as my other social media outlets so if you have those make sure you following me there! Thank you for your support!!!

-Clarissa

Great Small Businesses: @cheyedewolf !

This week’s great small businesses interview is on @cheyedewolf !

  1. Tell me a little about yourself.
Created with RNI Films app. Preset ‘Fuji Pro 160NS’

“My name is Cheyenne DeWolf, and I am a Detroit & Los Angeles based multimedia artist known for my animatics, photography, and graphics/illustrations. I just finished my bachelor’s in Television, Film, and Media Studies at California State University, Los Angeles and it has helped me be able to become the “one woman show” that folks on the internet also know me as. I specialize in all different areas of art like animation, film/video-making, photography, graphic design, illustrations, music producing, and recently crafting jewelry. I often focus on different areas at once because I get bored easily, but also stimulated easily so jumping around from different arts helps me feel more alive! I also tend to do a lot of things by myself as I was the youngest kid and only girl in the family – which means you usually have to kind of grow up by yourself and figure things out on your own.”

2. How did you come up with your designs for your earrings? 

“I honestly come up with my ideas by whatever type of media I am consuming – sometimes it is film, TV, music, or object/food related. I am very obsessive with anything and try to think of ways to express that I enjoy certain things by making earrings (since it is a lot less labor intensive than sewing clothing and what not). For example, I really enjoy Chobani Vanilla Oat Milk (it is the best one on the planet), so I felt like making a pair of them would be fun and exciting to do and then I can feel proud that I made them because I enjoy the product and had fun making it myself. I guess you can say I fall into the “weird earring lesbian” stereotype lol!”

3. What are the 3 most popular designs and why?

Blanche Earrings

“My three most popular designs would probably be the Blanche (Hausu cat), Moomin, and 70s Lucky Charm earrings.

70’s Lucky Charms Earrings

I think the reason why things like Blanche and Moomin are very popular is because I don’t think there is enough supply for the demand of people interested in having earrings from those kinds of shows/films. I certainly wanted a fun pair but no one else made them – therefore I decided to make them, and I am glad to see others agree. As for the 70s Lucky Charms one, I think that may be popular due to the reference of Lucky Charms, but done in a different way than just having the charms dangle down your ear (like a lot of the ones I was inspired by). 70s chunky circle earrings have recently been coming back in style as well as food earrings are always popular so by meshing the two together, I think helps the earrings be more appealing for others to check out.”

Moomin Earrings

4.  Can you talk about the concept of your youtube channel?

“My YouTube channel is just kind of a place where I post stuff I made! It is a bit all over the place at the moment, but I do enjoy making things such as animatics and montages because they help me get better at video editing (the area I focused the most in my college career). This summer I plan to upload more consistently and making content that I enjoy watching myself (like DIYs, gameplays, music videos, and even commentary). I got some great stuff planned and finally the free time to do so why not get back into the swing of things now?”

5.  Do you have any exciting news or events  coming up?

“I have lots in the works right now – a secret huge project that I cannot share much about yet as well as working on being more active on YouTube AND releasing my first ever royalty free instrumental album this summer. And who knows – it feels like every week I am working on something else new and exciting!”

If you would like more information about Cheyenne. The following contact information is below:

Website: https://www.cheyedewolf.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cheyedewolf

Instagram: @cheyedewolf

Instagram store: @craftycheye

Depop Shop: https://www.depop.com/cheyedewolf/

Welcome to the Insta-hood: @vintageannalsarchive !

this week I interviewed social media account: @vintageannalsarchive:

  1. Tell me a little about yourself.
    “My name is Rich Wexler. I am a special education high school teacher, Photographer (under
    New Castro Photo (also Instagram page) http://www.newcastrocameraphotography.com/
    named after LGBTQIA+ activist Harvey Milk) I consider myself an activist and try to use
    teaching, my photography (documentary), my vintage annals page to help spread information
    and images of BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ and other unseen or under documented minorities. As a Jew
    I fall into both of those worlds to an extent and have always tried to use my white privilege to
    offer my experiences and talents to all diverse communities. I am also a film, pop culture, and
    music nerd. My claim to fame in those worlds is based around being a puppeteer (I was born on
    Jim Henson b-day) and did a puppet show on the same bill as Sufjan Stevens (pre-indie fame)
    as well as met Frank Oz once. My brain exploded meeting Yoda, Miss Piggy, Bert, Grover,
    Animal, Grover, and ½ of the Swedish Chef all at once. Frank was the nicest man in the world
    and thanked me for being a fan. I have so much respect for Frank who in my opinion was part of
    changing the world for the better for kids my age in the 70’s. I have spent a lot of my life doing
    all kinds of different things. I worked at a LGBTQIA community center, puppet theater, hot dog
    cart vendor, Orthodox Jewish School and Camp, Psych hospital as a general teacher, etc. To me
    having stories and a life of experiences has always been more important than financial stability. I
    do identify as having dyslexia, and having dealt with anxiety and depression much in my life.
    Teaching, photography, music, and art really have really kept me together. I am currently
    learning guitar mainly through 1970’s songs including “Dust in The Wind”, and “Time In A
    Bottle”, I will always love that stuff. I have also avidly shoot and collected 3D photography and
    other forms. I will mention that more later. Also I grew up in Philadelphia and have been here
    my whole life but now in West Philly.”
  2. What made you want to start collecting and archiving vintage images? 
credit:https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3057595/Huge-moustaches-tight-trousers-cringe-worthy-straplines-unintentionally-awful-1970s-ads-make-wonder-got-sold.html

“This goes way back to being a kid and teen. I always liked collecting stuff but also loved older
items that my parents and grandparents had. My grandparents were kind of hoarders and pack
rats and had the best stuff. They collected these types of decorative whiskey bottles. I remember
actually drinking from one and it was gross. It was this malt liquor whiskey. Even in high school
we wouldn’t drink from them. Also my dad’s best friend owned a video store and let me have
full reign of all the posters, collectibles, and promo stuff. Whenever I go to a thrift store I always
feel like I’m in those places. The stuff I remember the most was a full cardboard stand up of
“The Toxic Avenger”, and original Sixteen Candles poster, and a AM/FM radio promo for
Tremors 2. I was pretty obsessed with thrift store clothing after being obsessed with “Valley
Girl”, and “Pretty in Pink” I wanted to be a punkier version of Duckie. My Jewish mom didn’t
want her son to dress like the homeless so I wasn’t allowed to shop at thrift stores. So of course I
rebelled and it just stuck. There was nothing better in the world than thrifting in the late 80’s and

90’s before Ebay. I was an avid thrift shopper for years in the Phily/Jersey area. I miss that so
much. Since I grew up with a mother and family who always took pictures I was always
interested in old photos and films. I grew up watching 8mm films, slides, and home movies on
the wall of our house. I loved the visceral experience as well as the illumination of images such
as slides. This is around the same time I got obsessed with 3D stuff. I had a viewmaster as a kid
and remember watching “The Creature From The Black Lagoon” on tv with old school glasses. I
always went to see the 3D theater releases and fondly remember “Coming at Ya” and “Jaws 3D”
as well as lenticulars and 3D comics. At some point in my thrifting experiences, I started to get
interested in people’s family photos and family films. I can’t really explain it but to me all that
was art. I consider it a form of folk art. I love having to kind of make up your own stories about
what the families were like. One time I actually found a photo of my own family. It was a photo
of my mother and Paul Anka. I kind of lost my mind for a few minutes. I soon realized that my
dad dropped it off, but I didn’t know that in the moment. My two best finds are as follows. I once
bought $100 worth of unseen family 8mm and Super 8 films. In that set was a homemade film
from the Weeki Wachee Mermaids from Florida in the 1960’s. It was shot in slow motion and
was blue and to this day it’s the most beautiful footage I have even seen. I used to play records
along with the films and was just transformed. My second best find is what is called a Personal
Viewmaster Reel. In the mid 1950’s Viewmaster made a home personal Viewmaster stereo
camera. You would shoot slide film and send it to Viewmaster and they’d send you your own 3D
photos. I think they did this till around the 80’s. My friend was with me and looking for 3D
Viewmaster reels for an art project and we found a few. When we looked at them they were
peoples actual photographs in 3D. When I looked at them I was transported to another time. The
immersive nature of 3d viewmaster puts you in that world. I have never again had such a visceral
experience. After years of collected them I actually figured how to shoot and make my own 3D
viewmaster slides and have shown them in a few art shows. I also own a 1950’s projector that
lets you project viewmaster reels large and wear other 3d glasses to see it. Over the years I would
just have great luck at finding peoples photo collections on the street. My best find of photos was
a collection someone threw out in a giant trashbag in front of U Arts School in the late 90’s. It
had the best collection of 90’s great bad art school photos. My favorite is a black and white of a
couple holding a fish. It looks like a promo image for a bad student theater production. At some
point I decided to start the Vintage Annals Archive Instagram to start to share this stuff. I think
it’s about 5-7 years old. The only way I know exactly is scrolling to the bottom but with over
13000 posts I never quite make it all the way through. I had like 300 followers for the first 3
years or so and did not fully understand how Instagram worked and would post like 100 images a
day. I applaud anyone who has been on there since the early days. God bless you. I got lucky one
day and was reposted by Amy Sedaris who is a master at all things vintage and overnight had
like 4000 new followers. After that I have slowly gotten up to 13000 followers. I don’t really
care about numbers and such but it’s nice to have a solid audience. I have almost quit a few times
as you start to run out of stuff but I keep going and it’s still fun.”

  1. What is your favorite decade  of advertisements?

“As I grew up in the 70’s (born 1970) I will always love the advertisements and images of the
day. My favorite ads are the ones that are naughty and sexist in 1970’s terms and have double
meaning. I also love prescription drug advertisements for Ritalin and such. I think of them like
the scenes in “Three’s Company” where Mr. Furley is listening in and in shock and
misunderstanding the conversation. I also love any drug or sex-based product ads. This also
brings up an issue is that at times (though rarely)that is problematic where people read these ads
by today’s standards and get angry. As a teacher I don’t mind putting out this problematic
material as it is educational in my opinion. I never post it to just offend others. Although if
someone gets offended as happens when I post some LGBTQIA+ materials I will then double
my efforts and post a lot more. I love doing this but when people act racist and homophobic it
kind of makes me want to stop but I don’t. It’s rare but happens enough that now I dox those
account posts.”

4.Can you talk about your website?


“In terms of photographs and my collections I have scanned most of my physical archive and
make it available for anyone to use images hi-res scans for art or historical projects. I am a Jew
and I try hard to include all races and gender identities and such. Before I started to upload my
images to my website I would notice a lack of historical and archival family photographs of
Bipoc and LGBTQIA+ imagery online and in online archives. If I looked up African American
family Christmas photos you get very little compared to general searches. I mean if you look up
black musicians in Google you get 70% male musicians in the main photo search. Sadly there is
racism embedded in even a google search. I just try to do what I can to add more of that material
in general. My website has about 21 full collections from family photos to scanned 1980’s
Dokken slides. I like that people can see them as a full collection. I also make some of the
physical archive available upon request. I have a nice collection of 3D photographs and slides
and have shown those locally before. One day I hope to tour with them or make a small 3D
museum with a general collection of found and family photographs. I do take donations to help

procure more materials as well as pay for the site and such. I have always wanted to put some of
the 2D and 3D collections out in book form which also takes money.”

  1. Do you have any exciting news or events that you would like to share? 

“I am starting to bring my vintage annals work into my own photography work which is very
exciting to me. I have a favorite photographer who did most of her iconic work in the 60’s 70’s
and still makes amazing work to this day. Her name is Meryl Miesler and I just did a post about
her new book “New York Paradise Lost – Bushwick Era Disco” who I actually met and got to
know through posting her images on my vintage annals page.
https://www.strandbooks.com/product/9780578831824?title=new_york_paradise_lost_bushwick
_era_disco

I also did a recent shoot with amazing artist Jim Tozzi who has created (vintage art inspired)
Bert’s Tit imagery and stickers and did work on Wonder Showzen, and Xavier Renagade Angel.
Since I am a teacher and off in the summer I will be traveling with my camera in hopes of
capturing the last pieces of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s in places like Las Vegas, San Francisco
and Chicago this summer. I once got to take photos of LGBTQIA+ hero Cleve Jones.
I am also hoping to document some of the characters and players who came to fame in the 60’s
through the 90’s and hope to meet and do portraits and possibly short documentaries.”

If you like more information the following contract information is below:

IG: @vintageannalsarchive

My summer of podcasts: 2021 version

This summer I made a promise to myself to read more and to listen to more podcasts. So in the spirit of keeping true to my word to myself. I decided to share some of my regular and new rotation of some podcasts that I have been listening to.

There is no mystery that when it was announced last year that there was going to be a podcast version of the show. I was totally more than ready and counting down the days for the first podcast. There are new podcasts every Wednesday my only complaint about the podcasts is that I wish they were longer! Most of the run times for the podcast are between 30-37 mins.

Link for more info is below: https://unsolved.com/podcasts/

I started following @everyoutfitonsatc at the end of December 2020. I really like their humor and take on the fashion and pop culture world. They announced in February 2021 that they started a podcast but I didn’t start listening to the podcast until after my surgery. When I needed a pick me up during my recovery time frame and omg it really did fill in my requirement for it.

Link for more info about the podcast is here: https://www.everyoutfitinc.com/shownotes

Main website is here: https://www.everyoutfitinc.com/

I Saw What You Did is a podcast by Danielle Henderson and Millie De Chirico. They bring such humor and wit to a lot of movies and genres that are not really discussed on a mainstream level. I definitely know for some of the podcasts of theirs that I listened to. I made a list of movies that I needed to watch because they were so passionate about it or that I never heard of and decided that I needed to expend my movie watch pool.

Link is below for the podcast: https://open.spotify.com/user/vsjq6ykfxcai5rwdblzflcyga?si=IAbB04vNTHyzJUkyK_AWxg&nd=1

Website is here: https://linktr.ee/ISawPod

I just finished this podcast last month. It was recommended to my by a friend (thank you Marty!:) ). And it talks about the rise and fall of the Chippendales brand with a mix of true crime. I remember Chippendales when I was little. The first time I saw the Chippendale dancers was on Donahue .

But I didn’t know the full extent of the brand and the business behind it. This podcast covers everything about the brand and if you are on instagram there ig has tons of archival footage and fun info about the Chippendales history that makes a great companion while you are listening to the series.

Instagram: @chippendalesrevealed

This is a new podcast that just started and I am halfway through their first podcast about “My big Fast Greek Wedding” and I’m loving it so far!

Link to listen is here: https://film-hags.simplecast.com/

What podcasts are you planning to dive into this summer?

Comment below!

Until next time!!

Dear Clarissa…..

Dear Self:

This has been a whirlwind of the past three weeks. You have worked with one of the most abrasive people you have yet to work with. Why is it so hard for you to find a environment that reflects growth, community, follow through. and responsibility? I know it will happen but there are still many lessons you must go through in order to be a better self. I am glad you stood for yourself. Like making sure you were to take at least a 20 min break for lunch during an eight hour work day even though the manager did not allow it. Simply because she did not take a breaks. She wanted it to be dictated for everyone else in the office. Remember the lack of her explanations, follow through, wanting to help out to her support team. Showed some amount of caring for her team like a true boss she was supposed to be but was the complete opposite. Showed you such an example of how not to be in a work place in order to grow and be an overall good person. Remember how unconformable it was for you to hear her yelling at husband and then slamming down her phone while you were sitting at the desk next to her? It was a constant reminded you never wanted that in your personal life and never be accepting of that kind of behavior in a work place! I understand that the business have been a long lasting 43 years old business. But was it a good one? Are the memories solid or couldn’t you tell how overwork, overstressed this woman seemed to be and will probably continue to be. With a lack of family support for a family owned business it seems like a waste of time to keep turning the same wheel. I am glad you saw clear signs of this woman’s lack of want to help other succeed in her business. Like leaving early in the afternoons like the building was on fire. constantly pawing off her own responsibilities and yelling at you while you were talking to her clients over the phone, the lack of her learning technology. The fact that you were left handed and being angry because you couldn’t use a ring sided binder . Her frustration and prejudices was deep towards you for the smallest things but keep in mind that she probably be the best that she will ever do. She will reflect back on those years as being burnt out. You are worth more than the three weeks that you work there. You will find that place that will have you grow and promotes growth. Thank you for for going through this experience. It made you tougher, wiser, and not to settle for lower than your worth.

Love, Clarissa

Weird but Memorable Movies

My adoration of weird movies runs deep. Here are four movie titles that I think would fall into this category.

The Fan (Der Fan) (1982): directed by Eckhart Schmidt and starring Desiree Nosbusch and Bodo Staiger. I watched this movie around 2012 by a random article I saw. The movie centrals around a teenager named Simone who is a literal die hard fan of a singer that goes by an alias called “R”.

Nothing else in her world matters. Not school, not friendships or her parents. Simone has a one track mind and it is all on “R”. She finally goes her chance to meet her idol however it is not like she imagined.

Fun fact about this movie: I recommend this movie for any fans of European during the 80’s decade.

Little Oak (aka Greedy Guts or Otesanek) (2000)- Jan Svankmajer. Starring Veronika Zilkova, and Jan Hartl. Director Jan Svankmajer is truly a unique director. I feel like once you watch one of his shorts it linger in your mind way after you watch it.

This movie is about a couple who wants a baby but is having an extremely hard time conceiving one. The couple buys a house in the woods and find a tree stump that resembles a shape of a baby. It clicks in their mind to treat the stump like a baby and by steer magic it become real. However their tree stump baby become a true nightmare.

Fun fact about this movie: The plot of this movie comes from a Czech fairy tale called Otesanek.

Society (1989) directed by Brian Yunza and starring Billy Warlock, and Concetta D’Agnese.

I truly cannot talk about this movie enough. I have written about this movie a couple of times and I am always recommending it to others who want a change of pace to their movie routines. It is about a guy named Billy who always got weird vibes about his family. Like something was off about them and he could not put his finger on it. But the more Billy investigates into his gut feeling about his family the more of a nightmare it becomes!!

Fun fact about this movie: The movie only took five weeks to shoot.

Frankenhooker (1990) directed by Frank Henenlotter and starring James Lorniz and Patty Mullen. There are many many different takes on the classic Frankenstein story by Mary Shelley. This movie is probably my top interpretation of it. James Lorniz plays Jeffrey Franken a power plant worker and happens to dabble as a bioelectrical scientist. His life feels complete until there was horrible accident at his fiancee dad’s birthday party. The very same gift he got his future father in law (an automatic lawnmower) kills his fiancee!!! Heartbroken Jeffrey believes that he can bring her back to life. However he must come to terms that she is really not the same person that she was alive.

Fun Fact about this movie: It took 12 years to finish this movie.

What movies would you add to this list?

Comment below!

until next time

Sources: Wikipedia and IMDB

Welcome to the Insta-hood @jr.nes77 !

This week’s Welcome to the Insta-hood is on @jr.nes77 !

  1. Tell me a little about yourself:

“I was born and raised in the great city of Chicago and I’m also first generation Mexican. Since I can remember, I’ve always loved watching movies and listening to music.  Growing up on the north side of Chicago, I can remember the days of hanging out on my block while talking with friends about the latest Nightmare on Elm Street movie and with a couple boomboxes playing in the background. One specific genre that would consistently be played on those boomboxes was Chicago House music. On any Friday night, you’d hear mixes from Ron Hardy, Farley “Jackmaster” Funk and the legendary Godfather of House Music, Frankie Knuckles (who I luckily met and became friends with while working at Virgin Megastore).

I was also lucky enough to have parents who loved going to the movies, but also loved having a movie night at home. I can safely say that my taste in movies is a fusion of my parent’s tastes. On one hand, you had my father watching “Deer Hunter” and on the other you’d see my mother watching “Fire in the Sky.”

Being fortunate enough to grow up in Chicago, I was treated at a young age to the legendary show, Svengoolie. This show would play classic camp, sci-fi and horror films like “Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man,” “The Bride of Dracula,” “The Incredible Shrinking Man” just to name a few. The Svengoolie show has aired locally since 1970 and now broadcasts outside of the Chicago area.

My love for films and music grew even more when I worked at Virgin Megastore for nearly 8 years. Not only did I have immediate access to all types of films and music, but access to a group of individuals who had the same love that I do. Having this accessibility just made my love for the strange and unusual even stronger…since I too am…strange and unusual. Sorry, I felt I had an opportunity to quote “Beetlejuice” and I had to take it.  

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In 2019, I took the first step in creating my small business and that was forming my LLC, UNDERCOVER. That same year, I partnered with [synthetic] Chicago (Alberto) to create Front Left Speaker (FLS). Forming UNDERCOVER is an extension of my vision on creating product and events that highlight my love for music, movies, art and Chicago.”

2. Can you talk a little bit about Front Left Speaker?

Front Left Speaker (FLS):

When working at Virgin Megastore, I met so many fans of Chicago House Music and aspiring DJs. During and after work, so many great discussions of Chicago House music and parties would be had. As time progressed, I found myself creating amazing bonds with a handful of people and one in particular was Alberto ([synthetic] Chicago).

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As we discussed our love for Chicago House Music, we found ourselves having some similar concerns. One of our observations was seeing our female friends struggle to break into the scene. Regardless of how amazingly talented they were, they faced so many obstacles in a heavily male dominated field. We also saw many who didn’t fit the “industry norm,” be denied great opportunities.

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As all this occurred, House music was gaining popularity across the world and it seemed that people were forgetting that House music originated in Chicago.  At this point, we thought to ourselves, one day we should collaborate and throw parties together to address these issues. We discussed how we would feature women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ community and remind everyone that House music originated in Chicago.

As life happens, we separated from Virgin Megastore and began our separate journeys. We kept in touch throughout the years, but it would be some time that we would be in the right stage in our lives to start what we’ve always talked about.

Around 2017 we found each other again after not seeing each other for a few years. We reconnected and caught up, turned out we were both starting new chapters in our lives and ready to make some moves. Alberto reached out one day and said, let’s hangout and talk. We met up and as usual, we would catch up. Alberto would then say, I think the time is now for us to work together. Alberto would then explain he’s had an idea of an event series that would address several social issues that we previously discussed. Thus, Front Left Speaker was born.”

3. If you have to make a Cult movie spring list: What movies would you have on there and why?

Top 5 Spring Cult Films:

  1. Polyester – When the Spring season arrives, it brings the beautiful aromas of fresh rain and blooming flowers. With that said, why not celebrate your sense of smell with John Waters’ “Polyester” that features “ODORAMA.”  Plus, everyone loves a serial foot stomper.

2. Spring Breakers – When Spring season hits, it’s a little hard not think about students on Spring Break and their shenanigans. So why not join in on the fun with a couple former Disney stars, booze, drugs, scooters and James Franco (AKA Alien) in Spring Breakers.

3. Pumpkin – Love is in the air during this season and nothing says love like two polar opposites falling for one another.  

4. Demons – As we get ready to hit the movie theaters again, there’s nothing better to celebrate with the idea of getting trapped in the theater with some demons.

5. Showgirls – Need some spring in your step? Showgirls can help you get sprung into action with some killer dance moves and jazz hands.

4.  Can you talk about the music video you created?

Music Video – Version 2.0:  The Reboot:

After completing a successful 2019, we were ready to take 2020 by storm. As soon as our “Mary XXXmas” event ended in December 2019, we were working hard for our 1-year anniversary of FLS in March 2020. As we got closer to the date, the news of a new virus that could possibly become a pandemic was becoming a reality. In early March of 2020, Chicago announced the closures of bars, venues, restaurants and restrictions on gatherings. As heartbroken as we were, there was nothing more important than the safety of all.  As time progressed and closures remained, event organizations were streaming live events to promote their artists and brand. Streaming became very popular and majority were using that platform. As Alberto and I discussed our options during these unusual times, we decided to go in a different route. Instead of streaming, we decided to create a music video that would loop with an original Chicago House mix.  As we discussed the pandemic and social issues that were occurring in 2020, we felt the world needed a “reboot.”  As we were developing the concept of our music video, we decided to also pay homage to our love of cult films.

Premise: The world is under attack by ignorance and hatred…let alone that dirty nasty bitch COVID-19. Sound the alarm!!! The world is in dire need of a reboot. Queue our lead mother android as she steadily works away creating her fem bot. Watch as they work towards creating change for not one, but for all. Their mission, to eliminate ignorance and hatred through the power of music and artistry.”

5. Do you have any exciting events or news that you would like to share?

“UNDERCOVER product line currently in production and will launch in the summer.  All original creations and manufactured in my studio/office in downtown Chicago.  IG will have updates and more information in the upcoming weeks.

  • New Front Left Speaker music video, “Version 2.0:  Integration,” is currently in development.  Could a trilogy be in the works??? We all know what happens in a trilogy, all bets are off in the last chapter.
  • Front Left Speaker product line in final stages of production and will be launching in the summer.  IG will have updates and more information in the upcoming weeks.”

If you would like more information. The following information is below:

Instagram: @jr.nes77

@_front_left_speaker

@undercoverchicago

@synthetic_chicago

FLS ASSOCIATES IG INFO:

@tmixwell – Tmixwell

@jaysquaed – Jay Jay

@skyy.gemini

Music Video