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Piltdownlad #8.5 – The Cult of Teddy Ruxpin

evil teddy ruxpin cult

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A Masque of Infamy Goodreads Book Giveaway

So I’m giving away 15 copies of my novel, but with a major caveat: the version I am giving away is rife with typos and mistakes (it has since been copyedited), has a unresolved ending that you will most likely hate and/or feel cheated by, the font size of the text is one point too large, the cover features a self portrait that makes me look like a Bon Jovi chick (which may further confuse people about whether I am a boy or a girl), the back copy seems like it was written by a copywriter on a cigarette break, and the subject matter is dark and generally referred to as “not for everybody” and led one reviewer to proclaim, “HUH?” Not to mention the pompous title that doesn’t make any sense. But hey… what the fuck, it’s FREE. And it comes with a money-back guarantee: After reading it, if you still feel like you’ve had a fucked up childhood, you get a full refund. HOW CAN YOU LOSE?!? Enter now:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

A Masque of Infamy by Kelly Dessaint

A Masque of Infamy

by Kelly Dessaint

Giveaway ends October 27, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

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Piltdownlad #6: INSTITUTIONALIZED

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Piltdownlad #6

This issue features the “Institutionalized” story cycle, which is an exploration of one event told from the individual perspectives of four participants. Picks up where The Nasty Dear (Piltdownlad #4) left off: from the Jackson group home in Anniston, Alabama, to Hill Crest Hospital, a mental hospital in Birmingham, where my brother Joey is put in the Youth Ward and I end up in the Adolescent Ward. Meanwhile, our father and Rick come home to discover their fate: a potential life sentence for child sexual abuse. Interspersed among the narrative are actual court records from the trial, newspaper clippings, song lyrics, photos and other miscellany. As with all issues of Piltdownlad, not for the fainthearted or the hardhearted.

CONTENTS:

INTRO
LETTERS AND COMMENT
The “INSTITUTIONALIZED” story cycle:
1. The Adolescent Ward
2. Shit on A Shingle
3. POW
4. Group
5. The Hanged Man
6. Mister Nice Guy
7. Reckoning
8. Feeling Blocks
THE ZINES I READ
APPENDIX

100 pages
wraparound cover
perfect bound

Available through Amazon.com

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Death Is The Ultimate High – A Masque of Infamy Excerpt

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The social workers called me into the office. The first one gestured at my clothes. “Can I ask why you’re dressed this way?”

I looked down at what I was wearing that day: a sleeveless white t-shirt with an anarchy symbol scrawled on the front with a red magic marker.

“What? This is just my style.”

She pointed at my hi-tops. I’d written the word “FUCK” on the front tip of my right shoe, and on the left, “OFF.”

“You have ‘death is the ultimate high’ written on the side of your shoes… Are you suicidal?”

“No, that’s from Miami Vice. When Crocket and Tubbs went after these punk rock thugs, that’s what they had spray-painted on the side of their car. I just thought it was a funny expression. It’s not supposed to mean anything.”

— from A Masque of Infamy

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A Masque of Infamy – The First Edition

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00030]

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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SUCKS, ALABAMA: The Unexpurgated Adventures of Louis Baudrey vs. Saks High

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Because it was painful (though necessary) to remove several chapters from the final draft of A Masque of Infamy dealing with my hijinks at Saks High when I first moved to Alabama, I decided to put them all together and release it as the novella SUCKS, ALABAMA.

Download the eBook for free from iTunes here.

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Before I left California, all I knew about the South was what I’d seen on TV: The Dukes of Hazard, Roots, Deliverance… So that’s what I expected: racist, good ole boys, playing banjos and speeding around the countryside in souped-up muscle cars, murdering and sodomizing strangers. Despite the old man’s assurance that I shouldn’t believe everything I saw on TV, my enthusiasm waved from one moment to the next. But the truth was, I was ready for a fresh start.

I wasn’t leaving much behind in Rosemead. Just bad memories and the rest of my crazy family. I figured I could write my own ticket in a podunk Alabama town. Nobody needed to know that I was born in the crappy part of a crappy suburb on the wrong side of Hollywood. But while Rosemead was nothing like the Los Angeles depicted in movies and television, I looked totally LA. It was 1986. My style was an amalgam of punk and heavy metal. My hair was long and my pants were tight. My ears were pierced three times in my left and once in my right. I wore the same Iron Maiden shirt almost every day and never left the house without at least one bandana tied around my ankle.

How could I not ride into town and just take over?

Shit, in my mind, as soon as these bumpkins in Alabama got a look at me, the guys would idolize me, the girls would lust after me and all their parents would fear me.

I would finally become the person the audience in my head had always cheered for.

All the way across the country, as I sat in the backseat of my father’s low-rent Cadillac, alternately picking fights with Joey, talking back to Rick and zoning out to the soothing sounds of heavy metal on my Walkman, I felt it in my gut, a rising excitement that everything was about to change.

For better or worse, once I fulfilled my destiny, the name Louis Baudrey would be synonymous with infamy.

— from Sucks, Alabama

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A MASQUE OF INFAMY

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00030]

A Masque of Infamy is a ribald story of teenage rebellion and survival. After moving from Los Angeles to small town Alabama in 1987 with his father, his younger brother and this guy Rick, a friend of the family, 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 tries to rule the household with an iron fist. As Louis is about to be shipped off to military school, 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 save himself, Joey and maybe even his dream of being a punk rocker.

“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

“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

“…hypnotizing… complex, multi-faceted, uncensored, honest — yet ‘creatively (and invisibly) engineered’ to provide a compelling narrative that I didn’t want to put down…” – V. Vale, Re/Search

“A Masque of Infamy is my kind of book! A no-bullshit novel – the type that reels the reader directly in with smooth passages, gritty dialogue and countless references to rock ‘n’ roll culture. The world needs less syrupy-sweet superficial feel-good yarns and more stories of surviving the human condition. Dessaint delivers.” – Wes Funk, author of Dead Rock Stars

“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

$14.00 . paperback . 320 pages . 5″ x 8″ . ISBN: 1-930935-33-1

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Another State of Mind

Saks, Alabama, was an electromagnetic wasteland, too remote to pick up a signal on the TV without cable. For the first time, I had access to MTV as well as shows like Night Flight and USA Up All Night. On weekend nights, I scoured the dial for videos, weird movies or anything with a little T&A. I was flipping through the channels late one Friday when I stumbled on a show with punks sporting mohawks and studded leather jackets.

I watched transfixed as the story unfolded. It was some kind of documentary about two punk bands from LA touring across the US and Canada in a school bus covered with anarchic graffiti. At each stop, they played shows in dingy clubs and warehouses, featured in the concert footage with a detailed demonstration on the techniques of slam dancing. There were interviews with kids all across the country. Kids with spiked hair, buzz cuts, mohawks, pierced noses and tons of make-up discussed their local scenes and what it was like to be a punk when the world around them refused to accept their music, their style and their way of life.


The movie covered all kinds of punks, from the drunk rowdy types to the straight edge movement in DC. There were even Christian punks. While they were in Canada, the bands stayed at a place called the Calgary Manor, where a bunch of punks lived together. They talked about running away from abusive parents and broken homes to form their own community centered around punk rock. In the backyard was a half-pipe. Bands played in the living room. They made meals and ate together, like one giant family. A family of outcasts.


This was the life for me, I thought, immediately overcome with the realization that something else existed out there. A punk rock life was everything I ever wanted: freedom, chaos, style, and an aggressive soundtrack. My new purpose in life was to find tapes by the bands Social Distortion, Youth Brigade and Minor Threat.

Inspired my the movie, I amped up my freak style and began to modify my wardrobe. With a marker, I drew an anarchy symbol on a ripped piece of t-shirt. Underneath that, I wrote “F.T.W.” and safety-pinned it to the back of my jean jacket. I drew crazy designs on my arms with a black PaperMate. I painted my fingernails black. I died my hair green with food coloring. I pierced my right ear a second time and inserted a long teardrop pearl earring.


As my transformation continued, I started getting dirty looks in the hallways of Saks High. People averted their eyes. I heard snide comments behind my back.

I was loving every minute of it.

 

–From A Masque of Infamy

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The Cult of Teddy Ruxpin

Cades Cove Methodist Church

The Cult of Teddy Ruxpin was the brainchild of Brett and Vic. As the outcasts of Saks High, they found great pleasure in being contrary. Since the Christians were always talking about devil worshippers and cults, they decided to start a cult of their own. The stuffed talking bear was the most absurd icon they could think of to worship. They scrawled “Teddy Ruxpin Rules” all over school, on desks, cafeteria tables, their lockers and the bathroom walls. There were slight variations, such as, “Teddy Ruxpin Is God,” “All Hail Teddy Ruxpin,” or “Teddy Ruxpin Is My Savior.” But the message was always the same. They knew it was stupid, but it alleviated the boredom. And it pissed off the Christians. So that made it worthwhile.

— from A Masque of Infamy & Piltdownlad No. 8.5 – The Cult of Teddy Ruxpin (the zine)

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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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