MISKATONIC UNIVERSITY: Parallel universes, lurking monsters, and the void

“You see them? You see them? You see the things that float and flop about you and through you every moment of your life? You see the creatures that form what men call the pure air and the blue sky? Have I not succeeded in breaking down the barrier; have I not shewn you worlds that no other living men have seen?” – H.P. Lovecraft, From Beyond

Lovecraft was certainly a complicated figure. He died at the age of 46 in Providence, Rhode Island, where he had spent most of his life aside from some years in our own Brooklyn, New York, which he hated and exacerbated his racism. His family had a history of psychosis and he, himself, was an ill child and sickly adult. It is rumored that he was gay and, despite being married, was perhaps indifferent to sex at most. He wrote prolifically and never saw success, critically or financially, during his lifetime. Knowing this about Lovecraft informs a deep understanding of the dark horror, reclusion, and fear of the other that is the heart of his work. In his book H.P. LOVECRAFT Against the World, Against Life Michel Houellebecq qualifies Lovecraft as having an “absolute hatred of the world in general, aggravated by an aversion to the modern world in particular.” His strange relationship to the world manifests itself vividly into his stories, twisting and turning into a terrifying monstrous form…and there’s nothing to do about it.

The tenor of his writing is pervasive even when it’s subversive and his influence is as far reaching as the tentacles of Cthulu or the Great “Old Ones.” In many ways, Lovecraft’s tales are more accessible than the man to whom he will always be compared, Edgar Allan Poe. Or at the very least they seem more fun to tackle for filmmakers, television writers (The Twilight Zone) and, these days, video game makers. From the classic to the camp with some expected inclusions (Buckaroo Banzai?), Miskatonic University provides a cross-section of Lovecraft’s influence and shows us how deeply entrenched this idea of other worlds is still today.

Movie-Inspired Poems at Nitehawk Prospect Park

Special thanks to Max Cavanaugh, Kevin Maher and Nick Nadel for helping to make this possible. Also to Nicki Lilavois and Bob Hoff for their essential help with the first installation of the marquee poems.

About Saint Flashlight:

Saint Flashlight is the art installation duo of Molly Gross and Drew Pisarra, two lifelong friends and published poets currently devoted to placing verse in public spaces. One previous project involved haikus written in black electrician’s tape on the walls of the Crest True Value Hardware in Williamsburg.

Molly Gross cofounded the Filmette Film Festival at Harvestworks last year. Her love of film, especially Japanese, is pronounced as is her desire to sing and dance. Her latest chapbook of poems, Crisscross (2016), can be read online at rm144.com.

Drew Pisarra has been known to stage Gertrude Stein plays, turn Fassbinder movies into poems, and blog weekly about Korean cinema. He recently grew a mustache to play Nietzsche in an opera by the Austrian-American composer Gisburg.

 

THE POEMS AND WRITERS

VOL 1

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
seed from a book not
the screen she cracked it open
under the skylight

-Karen Hudes (written for Leonard Library)

Karen Hudes took her first swing at NYC signage as a kid in the 1980s, when she wrote the winning slogan to relaunch the Times Square Zipper. Later she conceived and curated a 2010 exhibition about Williamsburg’s handmade shop signs for The City Reliquary in Brooklyn. Check out more of her projects here.

Saturday Night Fever

right down to my blood
fast-footed strut this disco
love these teenage feet

-Diane Mehta

Diane Mehta is a fan of lyrical epigrams and jagged sonnets, the metaphorical equivalent of Emir Kusturica and Werner Herzog. Her poetry collection, Morning of the Monsoon, comes out in 2019 with Four Way Books.

She’s Gotta Have It
Nola Darling dreams
a story in black and white
loving herself first

-Molly Gross

Molly Gross cofounded the Filmette Film Festival at Harvestworks last year. Her love of film, especially Japanese, is pronounced as is her desire to sing and dance. Her latest chapbook of poems, Crisscross (2016), can be read online at rm144.com.

 

VOL 2

Blue in the Face

lives intersect here
situational drop ins
at the cigar store

-Kate Lutzner​

Kate Lutzner is a Pushcart Prize nominee who loves movies, but whose dyslexia keeps her in local language films. Even so, she loved the French film Betty Blue and fancies herself a dark heroine.

Just Another Girl on the IRT

flygirl rides fast rails
pre gentrified Brooklyn world
yield delays ahead

-Pamela S. Booker

A former longtime Brooklyn resident, though never a “fly girl”, Pamela Booker is an interdisciplinary writer and educator who now lives in North Jersey. She misses the 1990s, and dreams of providing IRT riders with compelling new reads with her Charlie Brown inspired essay forthcoming this fall and a novel that explores drag activism and a murder, soon to follow.

Moonstruck

because you’re lactose
intolerant our love is
not a pizza pie

-Regie Cabico (dedicated to Brendan Gillett)

Regie Cabico won the Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam and produces Capturing Fire, an international queer slam and summit. His “Moonstruck” moment was being kissed by Stanley Tucci onstage.

Lo-Res: VHS Schedule, Week of June 9

Every week in Lo-Res Bar, we screen a selection of bootlegs, horror flicks, art docs and whatever else we can dig up from Nitehawk’s legendary VHS Vault.

Week of June 9, 2017

Day (Open – 9pm)

Preview Channel (2001) Oh hey, JAG is on.

Sailor Moon – Sailors Uranus and Neptune aren’t lesbians, no, they’re “cousins.”

Batman: The Movie (1966) – The one with the Batman brand shark repellent.

Maya Deren Dance Films – Some tapes are classy tapes. This is one of them.

MST3K, “Chickens of Tomorrow” – “The deadly battle against the Chicken of Today!”

Bigfoot (1970) – Bigfoot kidnaps the wrong bikers’ girlfriends!

Firm Fannies (1989) – It only takes 12-minutes to make your fanny super firm

Carnival in Flanders (1935) – Spain invades Flanders and everyone is wearing frills

Magical Mystery Tour (1967) – The Beatles ride around on a bus and call it a movie

After Hours (9pm – Close)

The Invisible Dead (1970) – The good thing about invisible monsters is that they’re free

Waxwork (1988) – What’s the difference between a normal wax museum & an evil one?

Last Resort (1986) – A Fyre Festival situation, but w/ Charles Grodin instead of Ja Rule

N64 Promotional Video – Let’s play Wave Race 64

Ninja Kids (1986) – This must be mislabeled, there’s way more nudity than ninja kids.