Tag Archives: about me

A Masque of Infamy – The First Edition

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A Masque of Infamy is a horrific and raucous story of teenage rebellion. But instead of “What d’ya got?” fifteen-year-old Louis Baudrey knows exactly what he’s fighting against…

After moving from Los Angeles to small town Alabama in 1987 with his father, his younger brother and this guy Rick, Louis tries to fit in at the local high school, but the Bible-thumpers and the rednecks don’t take too kindly to his outlandish wardrobe and burgeoning punk attitude. At home, he defies the sadistic intentions of Rick, who rules the household with an iron fist. As Louis begins to lose all hope, he stumbles upon indisputable proof that will free him and his brother from Rick’s tyranny. But just when he thinks his troubles are over, he’s locked up in the adolescent ward of a mental hospital, where he must fight the red tape of the system to realize his dream of being a punk rocker.

“A Masque of Infamy captures the screaming, up-from-the-toes intensity and torment of the United States of Adolescence. No one who reads this book will be left unchanged by its savage and unforgiving beauty.” – Jerry Stahl, author of Permanent Midnight

“The overwhelming rawness of Kelly Dessaint’s story about children attempting to navigate a world completely fucked up by adults is like a punch to the chest.” – Davida Gypsy Breier, Xerography Debt

“Kelly Dessaint twists the horror of growing up in a highly dysfunctional American family into a hilarious tale of survival. Detailing the trauma of being institutionalized as a teenager after having taken revenge against an abusive father figure, A Masque of Infamy is a story about stubbornly overcoming the odds to live long enough to tell the truth about just how shitty it is to be a kid in this country.” – Lydia Lunch

For more information, visit:

THE PHONY LID PAGE FOR A MASQUE OF INFAMY

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Shitpot Pete

Shitpot Pete
Shitpot Pete
Snot on your nose and shit on your feet

— my old man’s idea of a nursery rhyme

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The Nasty Oh-Dear (with apologies to Richard Pryor)

In 1986, when I was fifteen and Joey was eleven, we moved from Los Angeles to a small town in Alabama. Our father, a sergeant in the Army, was transferring to Fort McClellan outside a place called Anniston. Along for the ride was this guy Rick, a friend of the family who was also in the Army. We left the day after Christmas. It was the first time Joey and I had ever been outside the urban sprawl of Southern California.
Six months later, the old man and Rick were in prison, Joey was in a Christian group home and I was in a mental hospital.
For me, things were looking up.
The adolescent ward of Hillcrest Sunrise Hospital wasn’t so bad. The food was decent. I had friends and things to do. Among the depressives, the suicidals, the pot smokers, the bulimics and anorexics, the white girls who dated black guys, the atheists, the queers and the borderline schitzos, I was in good company. The freaks and rejects of small town Alabama were my kind of people. Sure, the doors were locked, the windows were thick plexiglass, we had video cameras aimed at us all the time and a full battalion of psych techs patrolled our every move—I was institutionalized without a doubt—but Hillcrest was a dreamland in the sky compared to the shelter where they put Joey and me when we were first taken into custody.
That place was a real shithole.

An Excerpt from Piltdownlad #4

 

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SMASH IT UP!!!

The Wife turned me into a cartoon character:

Flash animation by Irina Dessaint.

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A Poem Written for me by Scott Wannberg

KELLY

The Heavy Metal Executive Branch

of The Ongoing Process of

Human

elects

Kelly to

be the first

freedom fighter

to

set foot

(minus shoe)

on The

Newly Articulated

Planet of

Kill the Bullshit.

 

Kelly begins to sing

The New Technology

takes off his clothes

and begins

to

RAP

 

Scott Wannberg

12/31/2000

Scott was an amazing poet who passed away in 2011. He was one of the greats.

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the freeway wall

I was born on the San Bernardino Freeway. Eastbound side. A twelve-foot concrete wall separated our backyard from the fury of one of the busiest freeways in LA: six lanes going west, six lanes going east and down the center, the Union Pacific. Behind the wall, traffic was a constant roar. During rush hour, the cars crept by, with faulty mufflers sputtering, transmissions grinding, brakes squealing and stereos blasting. Motorcycles mainlined while sedans idled. Eighteen-wheelers struggled in low gear. The occasional voices, franticly shouting into the callbox…

At night, the cars came in waves. A few seconds of silence followed by a steady current. In the ebb and flow of late night transit, I discovered infinity, like a strip of gauze stretched taut.

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Piltdownlad #3: Junior Careers, Adventures in the Candy Trade

“THE CREW”

In my early teenage years I sold candy door to door for a company called Junior Careers.

Every day after school, the Bossman pulled up to the house in a beige Econoline and blew the horn. You knew it was time to go when you heard that unmistakable pattern, two shorts and a long. Morse code for, “Get the fuck out here! Right now!” The Bossman did not like to wait. You learned fast, if you were gonna make it on his crew you had to show some serious hustle. He had ten rules and “Don’t waste my time” was number one. As soon as that horn blew you hightailed it into the back of the van and joined the other kids crammed against a wall of boxes like chickens in an overcrowded pen. If you were lucky you’d be able to sit down on the floor too, otherwise you’d be standing, hunched over the boxes of candy, hoping nobody pulled a lame-brained stunt like that one time Felipe yelled, “Oh, my god! Stop!” and the Bossman slammed on the brakes. We all tumbled forward into a massive dogpile with the boxes on top, everybody totally freaking out. The Bossman was frantic, shouting, “What is it? What is it?” thinking somebody’s fingers were caught in the door again. But then Felipe goes, “A roach was crossing the street… you almost ran over him.”

We cracked up bigtime. Except the Bossman. He was pissed beyond belief. But that was no surprise. He was always pissed off. If it wasn’t one thing it was another. His patience was razor thin. And no wonder. It’s not like we ever made things easy for him. We dragged ass and talked shit nonstop, as if we got paid more for our snotty attitudes than the candy in our boxes. I mean, none of us really wanted to pound the pavement for hours on end when we could be home watching the tube. We did it for the ten percent of each sale, our cut of the profits. Slave wages, sure, but there weren’t many employment opportunities available to the under-sixteen set. So you dealt with it. Until you couldn’t deal with it anymore. And then you bailed. That was the beauty of the job. You could always say fuck it.

Everybody quit eventually.

It happened all the time. The van pulled up to a house and a kid would come out with a string of excuses. “I got too much homework.” Or, “I gotta do such and such for so and so.” The only thing the Bossman hated more than excuses was being a man short. “If you’re on the schedule and I show up at your house you better be ready to work.” That was rule number two. But it didn’t stop some kids from trying their luck. Except the Bossman had a keen eye for bullshit. No matter what you said you knew it wasn’t gonna be easy.

Once this guy Mike tried to take an unscheduled night off. But instead of facing the Bossman himself, he sent his little brother out to say he couldn’t work. It was cowardly, true, but you could hardly blame him, seeing as how mad the Bossman got when you flaked on the job. You’d be a fool to think you could get out of work that easy. You had to be on your deathbed before he’d even consider letting you off the hook.

Sure enough, the Bossman went off, shouting at the top of his lungs in case Mike was hiding behind the curtains, “You tell that lazy little blankety-blank blank blank if he doesn’t get in this van right now I’m gonna drag his useless ass out here myself.”

And he’d do it too. We’d seen it happen. More than once. He’d march right into some kid’s house and drag the culprit out by the collar like he was a bounty hunter going after America’s most wanted.

The Bossman always got his man.

Mike wasn’t the first kid to try the little brother tactic either. No, the Bossman had seen every play in the book. But this time was different. Mike was playing hardball. He wasn’t coming out. No matter how much the Bossman threatened him. So after a few minutes of hollering he threw his hands in the air and said, “Good riddance. That boy was useless.” Then he gave the little brother the once over. “What about you, kid? You wanna job? Or you gonna be useless like your brother?”

The Bossman had a thing against the Useless. When I first signed up for Junior Careers he met with my mom to give her the rundown and let her know I’d be safe on the job. Not that she was worried or anything. Before I started working for Junior Careers I wandered the streets aimlessly, getting into trouble. Then one day I noticed a flyer stapled to a telephone pole by the Alpha Beta.

According to the bold print, Junior Careers was an opportunity for kids twelve to sixteen to earn extra money, win special trips and have fun.

The prospect of a real job was hard to pass up. So I called the number and the next day the Bossman showed up at the house. He was a big guy, his brown hair kinda long and wavy, like he used to be cool, before he got old, and just forgot to get a crewcut. In this loud, booming voice he went off about the philosophy behind Junior Careers. “This job is about Life Lessons. I’m preparing your son for the real world. And in the real world there are Earners and there are the Useless. Those who go out and make things happen, these are the Earners. Those who let things happen to them, the Useless. The Earners come home with cash in their pockets. The Useless, they just waste my time.” As my mom nodded her head—I could tell she liked the sound of this—the Bossman looked me square in the eye and asked, “So which one are you gonna be?”

“An Earner?” I asked it more than I said it because I wasn’t even sure what he was talking about. But then, I woulda gone along with anything if it meant making a few bucks. It had been ages since I’d had an allowance. Room and board, that’s all we got from the folks. For everything else–candy, magazines, cassettes and video games–I was on my own. The prospect of being an Earner and coming home with cash in my pocket was almost too good to be true. However, after a few weeks it became obvious that it was too good to be true.

I wasn’t much of a salesman.

I was one of the useless.

But I didn’t really care. I was only in it for the junk food. As long as I had a little cash at the end of the day for a trip to the liquor store, I was satisfied. Besides, most of my earnings went to the candy I scarfed on the job anyway. The same overpriced candy I was supposed to be selling. Many a night I came home empty-handed after blowing my meager profits on company goods. It was just so hard to resist opening a box as I went along my route. Dealing with all that candy, I got the munchies something fierce. I’d try to resist the urge, but, consoling myself with the fact that I made my ten percent off what I’d eaten, I justified my splurges with the fact that it was kinda like I got paid to eat candy.

_________________________________________________________________________

From the zine JUNIOR CAREERS: ADVENTURES IN THE CANDY TRADE

Available from PILTDOWNLAD or, if you got a dollar burning a hole in your pocket, you can buy a copy on etsy.

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Motley Crue – Stick To Your Guns 45 – The Story of a Suit

Back when I dealt in books and records, every Saturday morning, at the crack of dawn, I drove from Silver Lake to the beach, going to yard sales. I had a set route. First, I’d circle the reservoir, then go through Los Felix via Franklin Ave, wind my way through Hollywood, the Fairfax District and WeHo. Then I’d race down to the 10 and head to Venice and Santa Monica. It was a lot of driving and a lot of double-parking. But I became proficient at looking for the “tells” of a good yard sale. After a while, it became a science, a second nature…

One Saturday, around 2pm, I was heading back to Silver Lake from the westside, somewhere in the east part of Santa Monica, when I saw a yard sale sign. Even though it was late in the day (after 1pm, all the good stuff is gone), I thought, What the hell. One last stop before I get on the freeway. So I followed the arrows and pulled up in front of a lawn covered in boxes overflowing with junk. As I perused their wares, I noticed a stack of CMJ magazines from the eighties and about 100 Warrant Cherry Pie tapes. Since this is LA, I assumed somebody from the music industry was getting rid of their crap. In a box on a table were a bunch of 45s. I started flipping through, saw some Kinks, cool. A Wang Chung, meh. Men At Work, okay. Then a Judas Priest picture disc. Sweet. Then an Iron Maiden picture disc. Awesome. Then, I almost broke out in a sweat when I saw the holy grail of Motley Crue records: The first 45, “Stick To Your Guns,” released by their management company. I looked around. “How much are the 45s?” I asked aloud, unsure who was running the sale. A lady asked another lady who asked another lady who told me, “25 cents.” My heart was racing now. “Okay,” I said casually and kept flipping through the 45s. More eighties pop. And… What! Could it be? Another copy of “Stick To Your Guns?” Holy crap! I tried to stay calm. Two copies of a 45 that was limited to 1000 copies back in 1981? What are the odds?! Deep breathes… I kept flipping. And then… towards the end of the box, I came across this little puppy:

signed 45 Motley Crue Stick To Your Guns

Yes, that is all their signatures, with dates from 1981 and Nikki Sixx’s, “Heavy Metal Kicks Ass.” I paid the two dollars or whatever my total came to and got the hell out of there fast, hit the freeway, going, “holycrap…holycrap…holycrap…” all the way back home.

Like most records and books I scored during that time, these wound up on eBay. My rationale for selling the first was that I couldn’t be stingy. I had three, while rabid Motley Crue fans had none. And besides, I wasn’t much of a fan anymore. It only had sentimental value to me. So I listed it and got $700.

The second I listed because of finances and got about 6 something. The signed one I held on to for a long time… I always figured I would sell it to finance a 45 for my own band or something, which would have been the ultimate justification. But then, in 2008, I was getting married, and I really wanted a bespoke suit like Nick Cave. And even though everybody was freaking out about the economy, and eBay sales were in the crapper, I threw it on the auction block. For ten days it hovered around $400, but during the final nerve-wracking 45 seconds, it closed at $1500.

This is the suit:

(Incidentally, after getting married, I put on some weight and now it no longer fits.)

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ZineCon Las Vegas 2000 interview

I’m on the youtubes! Interview with me at Las Vegas ZineCon in 2000.

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phony lid publications

Until it drove me half-insane and left me in squalor and homeless, I had a publishing company called Phony Lid Publications. I lasted about five years, from 1998 to 2003. Before I moved on to paperbacks, I published zines, chapbooks and broadsides, which I distributed throughout the city. This is a cartoon of me and my exploits by G. Tod Slone, editor of The American Dissident. G. Tod provided photographs for many of the covers in the Pick Pocket Book series.

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