Kelly Thomas- July 5th, 2012

One year later and Kelly Thomas is still gone, but his memory lives on with all of us. He died one year ago to the day. Now on that sad night, I had the distinct privilege to meet Mr. Ron Thomas and Mrs. Cathy Thomas.

Ron is a brave father, unlike any other father I’ve met. He’s the calm in the middle of what most would call a terribly tragic storm.

I can say nothing else other than, keep supporting the Thomas family and live. Life is a gift, as cliched as it sounds-we all deserve to live.

-CV

Kelly Thomas Update

 After seeing this horrible video, I stand by everything I said on NPR.

 I said “The police were the truly mentally ill ones,” i.e. they attacked and killed an unarmed man.

I honestly believe that every single one of these cops involved are all extremely disturbed sociopaths.  

Each cop deserves life in prison without the possibility of parole.

I have nothing else to say. In other words, I’m utterly speechless.

The LA Times & NPR

I’d like to thank everyone for reading my Op-Ed in the LA Times and for tuning in to me on NPR.

In case you missed either of them:

NPR: Click here: http://www.npr.org/2012/04/02/149857042/a-patients-perspective-police-and-the-mentally-ill

LA TIMES: look here: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-valone-police-and-mental-illness-and-kelly-t-20120311,0,7465544.story

I’d just like to clear up a few things:

1.I don’t write things in hopes of getting a pat on the back nor do I expect sympathy-more so I expect empathy. There is a big difference, and the empathy I expect to go for all of “us.”

2. After being called “Fantastic,” “Inspiring” and then being called “Lunatic” or “Insane” by complete strangers I am more apt to say this is the first and last time I will ever read my “online critics.” In other words, whether they be negative or positive feedback, I actually get my validation from my own self worth. (Although I do appreciate the positive support!) And now I really do understand why Woody Allen never bothers with critics. As critics are just that: negative critical people who probably would rather not be critics, usually with some sort of agenda attached to a number of their own personal issues. I can only imagine how lousy it must be to be Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie-I’d imagine they don’t even have a modem at home let alone any form of magazine subscriptions. Art is often subjective and some art works for some and some art works for others.

3. I don’t consider myself a “mentally ill” writer. I will give you that it is a topic in some of my creative non-fiction writing but I also write fiction, screenplays, and even stage plays. I also paint and am fond of existential writers, philosophers, and the Muppets-I have to mention the Muppets. Let me ask you, was Basquiat a black painter or a painter?

4. Yes, I am re-editing my memoir about my days of what most would call “being mentally ill.” It’s taken a while, but I think I have it under control.

5. I don’t let my past, present, or future define me as a writer. Nor do I let my race, gender, or sexual orientation define me as an author. To live inside other minds, hearts, and lives is the job of writer, not just to re-live one’s own experiences.

6. Thank you for reading my rant, which isn’t particularly directed at anyone at all, but more so just some things I wanted get off my chest that would not fit nor work as a tweet.

Here is Happy in the snow. Have a great week.

The 2010 Mexico International Film Festival

A quick summary note: This was a great festival which reminded me that film is art in its purest form if done right. If done well it is poetry, light, music, and art. In other words, it’s a moving painting that breathes and talks aloud.

My highlights:

One particular short film from Spain: “Dejar A Marcos”, was particularly heartbreakingly good.

Another short film: “Chicken Heads”, a Middle Eastern themed film was really well done and interesting in the choices it created.

The best short film ever (Oscar nominated): “The New Tenants” by Joachim Back was probably the best short film I have seen in years. It featured an aging yet brilliant Vincent D’Onofrio, a crazed Kevin Corrigan, and many other greats. Darkness, comedy, irony love, blood; it was missing nothing.

http://www.climaterefugees.com/

This documentary in essence is a film that changes how we look at the world as whole and I think every single person on this planet should see it. I have now started looking at everyone as either my brother or a sister or some form of estranged relative. There is too much to say so I will just say go see it. It really changed my life in a few ways.

There were also a few other films that I missed, but that’s life. Often when great films battle with an amazing sandy beach….the sandy beach wins.

Screenwriting stuff:

I did win an “Honorable Mention” in the screenplay competition of the Mexico International Film Festival this year for my original script based on a novella of mine called, “My Happy Afterlife”, which is about a failed LA novelist, and the general whoredom that is Hollywood when it comes to ‘writing’. It was an early draft of my novella which I have since then polished up nicely. I call this script a nice unhealthy mix of Dramedy and Neo Noir. It’s my own stab and jab tribute to misfit writers like myself, beautiful drunks like Bukowski, those that live life fully like Hemmingway, and finally those who lie in the gutter in-between everything (Again, like myself). It’s also a love song of sorts to Mexico, or to my Mexico. It is about all that that I love and find to be so wonderful and so very tragic about it as a whole. I also touch on themes of human rights when it comes to “Illegals”, because to me there is no such thing as an ‘illegal’. All Americans are here from somewhere else, and there is nothing illegal about it. Except for the fact that this land we call America used to be just land for the Native Americans and the Aztecs. So in closing, we (Americans) in essence are the real illegals.

Take that, Arizona. I am also boycotting Arizona, and instead of just doing nothing I am encouraging the world to travel to Mexico. Trust me; it’s quite safe these days.

Now be well, people of the world. I must go and do more creating and living.

Happy Festivus –

First off here’s my damn cute holiday dog photo:

Festivus website

Wikipedia Festivus

Happy Festivus to everyone! Starting this year I will be “airing of my grievances” via my blog.

So here they are:

1. When I am driving and I hear a song on the radio that has some sort of horn in it that sounds like a real horn next to me, it pisses me off! What kind of musician thinks a car horn or a horn that sounds like a car horn sounds like a good piece to an ensemble of a song? It just makes me look for this non-existent car that’s not honking at me. Stop it!

2. Why do radio commercials always sound louder than the songs on the radio? It just makes me change the radio station.

3. Why does all of Los Angeles Radio suck? Either I get bored on KCRW-National Public Radio, or get dumbed down on KROQ with fart jokes from those idiots Kevin and Bean….or they replay the same crappy unpunk but ‘punk’ song on the radio again and again. Then there’s the classic rock radio station DEEJAYS who all sound as conservative as GW Bush’s grandson or something. They also play the most unoriginal songs; never the hard-to-find classics, but the same popular songs again and again. Old should not always mean Bush supporter. Start playing those hard to find classic songs.

Finally, I beg of you Los Angeles….please bring back Indie 103.1 to the car radio!! Thanks for listening.

4. Why do these ‘exclusive’ La clubs (this goes for Vegas clubs too) sell ‘exclusive’ tickets to their ‘exclusive’ events online? If they’re so exclusive then why can I buy tickets on the internet?

5. People who stand outside AA meetings chain smoking? I bet you would be able to quit everything if you quit smoking along with the crack problem….

6. Twitter-it’s sometimes used to express original thoughts, but most of the time its everyday people kissing celebrity ass….you all have your own voices-no need to ass kiss or Re Tweet things again and again. Use it…look at the country of IRAN. They used twitter to express human rights violations and voting outrage…and we use it to ask some celebrity who they like in the next basketball game. Express your own damn voice.

7. Old rock stars don’t all deserve reality shows. Some should just retire or learn to play the acoustic guitar, not have TV shows on what it’s like to date young strippers and or actress wannabes. I think most ‘rock stars’ didn’t start making music to be a reality TV star. Has anyone even heard Brett Michaels’s music? It’s horrible…..and he’s just the beginning.

8. Shut up about Tiger Woods. I didn’t care about him or Golf before his affairs and I sure don’t care about him now.

9. People who think my blog is any reflection of my screen/novel writing. Newsflash-I don’t put alot of effort into my blogs-I mainly write stories….screenplays, novels and yes the occasional stage play. Blogs are good for opinions, ranting and or expressing non narrative moments.

10. Yes, I am a Dyslexic writer, so what. To me, what counts is-that I know how to tell a story and that I tell that story to you all. I have written 3 screenplays, 1 stageplay, 1 novella all just this year.

Thank you and happy holidays.
Xo
CV

We all live and die a little everyday……

Sometimes life just happens.

My wife if you didn’t know is a Celebrity makeup artist…and one of her very first celebrity clients, Brittany Murphy has died.
It’s a very sad day indeed. My wife was very upset when she heard the news and said that Brittany was, “the nicest, funniest and sweetest celeb” she has ever worked with.
I am actually working on a script and she would have been perfect for the part, it’s so sad. I never try to write for a specific actor but sometimes parts you write just fit certain people. It’s a Broadway themed script….that’s all I can say. I never discuss a script until it’s done.
Brittany had some of those amazing qualities and some classic Broadway skills that not many actors are born with or have.

Well, a lesson is there somewhere under the murk and tragedy. It’s an odd thing…life, screenwriting and so on.

Let’s all enjoy and create while we are here…whether it is creating: art, life, or just simple love for others.

Life happens; we all live and die a little each day.

Be well to each other no matter what.

My 2009 in the form of a poem……

Novelists think they are better than screenwriters,

Screenwriters think they are cooler than novelists,

And bloggers want to judge either of them.

Myself, I don’t care either way,

A story is a story is a story-as long as it just doesn’t bore me.

Speaking of poems….here’s Charles Bukowski’s new poetry book, The Continual Condition. I do recommend it.

Happy Holidays or Happy Non-Holidays……whatever floats your boat.

May you float away happy-

Much love-

xo

CV

It’s tough being a foul mouthed, ill-tempered superhero but it’s worth it..

I am perfectly comfortable being who I am. I am exactly who I want to be. Part of me is a real superhero. I love helping people and or overcoming odds. Yesterday, I saved someone’s life. Now it wasn’t a human being mind you, but it’s still a life and very important in the grand scheme of things. Picture it: I was walking my loyal and neurotic Beagle down the street. It was about 1pm on a Tuesday. Nothing special in the day, just an afternoon like any other -but it’s not. We were walking at a good pace and the sunshine was hitting us just right. As we were contentedly strolling along, an old woman who could have passed for a skinny version of Betty White from the “Golden Girls” walked up to us and said,

“What a handsome dog!”

“Why thank you,” I answered for him and myself proudly. The moment was too perfect. Then it happened. We were walking by a soft-topped JEEP and we heard the angry barks. I noticed that the Jeep’s plastic windows were open and unzipped and suddenly, within a half a second, a huge Rottweiler dog jumped out of it. He must have been at least 70lbs.

“Wait, he’s chained to the Jeep frame!” I realized. He fell out of the parked car door and was hanging by his choke collar right in front of us! It was one of the most horrible things I have seen. Think fast!

“Watch my dog!” I said to the woman. She didn’t react.

I shouted again-“Watch my dog!” I let him go and she finally grabbed him.

Then I grabbed the snapping, biting, strangling dog that he was, as he nearly took my hand off. I kept at it, trying to pick him up while he scraped my hand with his razor-like teeth. Finally I did it! I got a grab on him as he was snapping at me. I pushed him up and back into the jeep window. He was now okay. He was petrified, but alive.

The old woman standing with my dog looked white as a ghost at this freakish event. But I didn’t think it was so very out of the ordinary, sadly. This was a near tragedy due to another careless dog owner.

“I’m going to zip his window up now. He can’t fall again, not on my watch,” I say as I brazenly reach my hand inside the door towards the angry and scared animal and zip it up.

“If he’s going eat my hand, he’ll eat it,” I think to myself.
His owner finally showed up.

“What the hell is going on?” He asks dimly.

“I’ll tell you what’s going on, asshole. I just saved your dog’s life. He almost hung himself because you left him in the car on a fucking choke chain with the window down,” I say.

“What?” He asks.

“You dog almost died just now, motherfucker. He jumped out of the window with that chain around his neck and was hanging from your car. He could have died. If I ever see you leaving your dog all alone again I will call the police or worse.”

“Maybe you shouldn’t have harassed him,” he said, unsure of how to react.

“Excuse me young man, he’s very upset but he saved your dog. He was far away from your dog and he ran over and saved his life,” the old woman added.

“Don’t you ever fucking leave your dog alone in a car ever again! I am serious-I will fuck you up!” I say with conviction.

Sometimes my rage takes over when I’m pushed, and this guy isn’t bright at all.

“Promise me?” I say.

“I promise you’ll never see me or see me leaving my dog-I love him,” he says.

“Well fucking act like it, pet ownership is a privilege not a right.” I say.
I nod to the old woman and take my dog.

“Thank you for helping. If you weren’t here it would have been tough,” I tell her.

“You’re welcome,” she answers.

The man jumps in his Jeep, unsure of what to do. I walk away from both of them nearly hyperventilating.

“Fucking-a Mr. B. We did alright,” I say and pet his little head.

I walked home quickly, still breathing oddly. I lay down with my dog. I was alive, but my heart was beating faster than a hummingbird. The life of a superhero isn’t always easy but it feels alright sometimes.

I will finally note that it is completely illegal and irresponsible to leave any animal in a car unattended. Leaving animals in a car is actually Punishable by fines ranging from $100 to $1000 to time served in jail. Or worse-you’ll have to deal with me.

“Don’t do it,” says the self-made hero that I am.
That’s one to grow on…..

Xo

CV

My Reflections on the Matthew Shepard Bill & my own story of a 90s Transgender Murder in Boston…

“I heard a funny joke in a bar the other night….just not tonight”


The Story of Chanelle Pickett.

Here are my own reflections relating to the anti-hate bill that was passed today: The Matthew Shepard Bill. I’ve been thinking about my own life and the tragic events that I have had the displeasure of being used to in the past. You have no idea what I am talking about. Well, I will tell you about it: Somewhere in the late to middle of the 1990s when you were either in grade-school, high school, college, or getting an education, I was busy hanging out in the real alternative/punk world in Boston. On occasion I visited those unknown hipster bars in Allston within that scene. It was a sad, happy, and often troubling time for me. This was long before I was a troubled young man, but more so a troubled boy. Along the way I had a few moments that I would consider to be joyful or not so unhappy.

There was one bar I used to go at the time that had all sorts of hip, freakish, hip-hop, jazzheads, and punk customers. I was in none of these categories, and I was all of these categories. I was more of a misfit. So I always hung out with other misfits whether they looked like me, had a Mohawk etc. Every night I stopped by, there was one particular girl, transgender girl- Chanelle. She was always so very happy and funny. She was kind of a flirt with everyone myself included. We had an understanding, we were both kind of misfits and we generally just wound up at the punk bar for lack of better idea. We would exchange ideas, thoughts and more so we exchanged jokes- that was our thing-jokes at the bar. We weren’t best friends or nor did see each other outside the bar much at all, but we always had a funny, nice little joke exchange.

When I stopped seeing her at the bar, I didn’t think much of it. I thought, “Oh she met someone or she moved away or went off to college.” I never thought that she got murdered…until someone handed me an “In Memorium” flyer. Then I knew she was gone. It wasn’t like it was all over the news, not that I watched the news at the time. As a matter of fact hardly many people at all made a fuss about her death. “Another dead Trannie” one person might say. Not really. No life is ‘just another dead **** anything or anyone”.

If you feel so inclined and have a strong constitution, feel free to read what happened to her below….and then tell me that the Matthew Shepard Bill is not needed in this country:

I tell you this story not so you’ll read my blog or think I’m interesting, but so you know another story besides Matthew Shepard. I wasn’t a close friend to this person who died. As a matter of a fact I was like a close or distant acquaintance, but now that this bill has passed I can’t but think to myself this one really important thought and or idea I wish to convey to you ALL:

“There are one or a hundred less jokes being told in bars in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, and all over the world for that matter, on this night and on the many nights to come.”

We know that hate crimes, of course, have happened before and chances are they will will happen again….but since this bill has passed, there might just be more dire consequences for this crime, and the would-be criminals will have to listen. Do yourself a favor and the next time you are in a bar, tell a nearby stranger: black, white, gay, straight, or transsexual a joke…..and make it a good one.

Chanelle Pickett’s story is below this line:

http://www.lgbthatecrimes.org/doku.php/chanelle-pickett

The LGBT Hate Crimes Project

You are here: The LGBT Hate Crimes Project » Chanelle Pickett

Chanelle Pickett
Chanelle Pickett (1972 – November 20, 1995, an African American transgender woman, died on November 20, 1995, in Watertown, MA, at the home of William C. Palmer. Palmer claimed he defended himself against Pickett when she became angry after he discovered she was transgender and rejected her.

The Background

Chanelle Pickett

Pickett and her sister Gabrielle – also a transgender woman – were employed at NYNEX, in Brookline, MA, until she was allegedly fired for being transgender and for standing up to sexual harassment from her co-workers.1) Pickett was transferred to a different department, but the harassment continued and both Pickett and her sister were fired. Unable to find work and having exhausted saving accounts, both sisters turned to sex work in order to survive.2)

On November 19, Pickett, 23, and her twin sister met William C. Palmer, 35, at the Playland Cafe, a popular club with a large transgender clientele. Palmer was known to have frequented Playland, and several transgender women who patronized the club claimed to have had sexual encounters with him.3) The three of them left the club and went to the sister’s apartment, where they drank and used cocaine that Palmer, a computer programer for Unisys, had purchased at Playland earlier. After 90 minutes, Pickett and Palmer departed for his apartment in Watertown, MA. 4)

The Attack
Palmer testified in court that he and Pickett smoked crack cocaine at his apartment. Pickett began to give him oral sex, when he discovered she was transgender and demanded she leave the apartment. Palmer then claimed that Pickett became angry, screaming “God will never die” and “the devil is king,” and attacked him. Palmer said he “sat on” Pickett in order to “stabilize” her, but that she was still breathing when he released her.5) Palmer’s roommates heard Pickett’s screams coming from Palmer’s room as she was beaten.6)

The Aftermath
Arrest

William C. Palmer

Palmer slept with Pickett’s body for six hours before turning himself in to a lawyer who then notified the police.7) In a taped statement to police, Palmer said that he put his hand over Pickett’s mouth and grabbed her throat, but Picket bit his finger and he he hit her with a “quick jab” to the jaw and “sat on her” for about 10 mintues.8)

Police found Pickett at Palmer’s residence, lying in a pool of blood. An autopsy showed that blood had accumulated in Pickett’s lungs and brain. Along with this evidence, hemorrhages on Pickett’s neck lead a medical examiner to conclude that Pickett had been strangled, and suffocated with a piece of cloth, for at least eight to ten minutes.

Investigators found a stain on Palmer’s jeans containing semen and saliva. Tests showed that the saliva could have been Palmer’s but the semen could not. The results were consistent with Picket ejaculating in Palmer’s mouth and Palmer then spitting out the ejaculate onto his jeans.9)

Trial, Conviction & Sentencing
On December 1, 1995, Palmer pleaded not guilty to Pickett’s murder, and was released on a $50,000 cash bond. The Middlesex district attorney requested that Palmer be held without bail. As a compromise, Palmer was required to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet, submit to random drug testing, meet with a probation officer each week, and avoid any witnesses in the case.10)

At trial, Dr. Stanley Kessler, a medical examiner, testified that Pickett had been throttled for at least eight minutes and that bedding may have been stuffed into her throat.11) Kessler testified that the cocaine levels in Pickett’s system were not enough to have caused her death. Kessler showed the jury photographs of a blood-smeared comforter that he said was puckered in one section, as though it had been “shoved down someone’s throat.” Kessler said that when he examined Pickett, blood was coming from her nose and mouth, which was consistent with strangulation.12)

On May 3, 1997, a jury acquitted Palmer of murder and instead found him guilty of assault and battery.13)

On May 16, 1997, Palmer was sentenced to two years in prison.14)

Goodbye Ted Kennedy


Although I am not considered a ‘real’ Massachusetts native(actually grew up in Connecticut), I consider myself more of a Boston native than anywhere else in the world. It is where I made the first real home of my very own.
I never quite felt comfortable growing up in Connecticut with its uptight values, politics, and or uptight “artistic” communities…they all always felt too stifling for me. Massachusetts, on the other hand, was and is to me to be considered the real land of the free, and often it is said that it is ‘its own country’, and this is I find to be true. It might just be thanks to the greatness of original people like Ted Kennedy, so I thank you Ted for helping shape my first home, among other things that you did while you graced us with your presence.
I whole-heartedly mourn the loss of one of Massachusetts’s, the world’s, and America’s greatest political minds of this century. Ted Kennedy, the world is a little darker now that you are gone. I had just heard as I fell asleep-I woke up in the middle of this night dreaming and hoping it was a just a bad dream….but it was not. So, I do bid you a fond farewell.

Peace, brother Ted-peace to you….always.