“I’M A SINFUL MAN”: SUBVERTING TRUMP’S APOCALYPSE

In the gospel reading from Luke 5, we find the famous “fishers of men” narrative. In that passage, there’s a revealing emotional moment: Simon (later renamed Peter) drops to his knees after the second (and successful) fishing expedition and says … Continue reading “I’M A SINFUL MAN”: SUBVERTING TRUMP’S APOCALYPSE

Brother Cobweb at “The House Of Shadows”

Brother Cobweb is a character I created at the age of seven, in a comic book, which I titled “The Brother Cobweb Chronicles.” Brother Cobweb was a response/revolt/private protest to what I considered my own personal horror of being forced to attend a Pentecostal church. It’s interesting then to see him become an actual horror exhibit in a huanted house attraction. As I used to say (spewing sarcasm) “Amen Brother Cobweb.” Continue reading Brother Cobweb at “The House Of Shadows”

Brother Cobweb: visual concepts by Todd M. Coe

Brother Cobweb is a character I created at the age of seven, in a comic book, which I titled “The Brother Cobweb Chronicles.” Brother Cobweb was a response/revolt/private protest to what I considered my own personal horror of being forced to attend a Pentecostal church, along with growing up in a dumbed down and oppressive fundamentalist environment. Continue reading Brother Cobweb: visual concepts by Todd M. Coe

BROTHER COBWEB, The Novel by Alfred Eaker (April 12, 2020 Open Books Press)

All Calvin Elkan has ever wanted to do is escape his mother and her Pentecostal church, the Lighthouse. Calvin is eternally at odds with the brutal abuses and ignorance of his upbringing in a right-wing evangelical sect in Ohio. Under the guidance of his great-grandfather, he turns to art and music to escape his mother’s blows and the grip of the Lighthouse. Continue reading BROTHER COBWEB, The Novel by Alfred Eaker (April 12, 2020 Open Books Press)

ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF MOZART’S DEATH: WHY CATHOLIC?

I frequently get asked “Why Catholic?” by diverse self-proclaimed demographics; Evangelical Protestants, Rad Trads, and that sector of atheists who can be just as either/or in thinking as religious fundamentalists.  I can think of no more apt and meaningful a symbol than Mozart as an initial gateway as a response to that question, although there is more to it than that. My introduction to artmusic was at a young age and while I started off with the standards (i.e. Beethoven and Wagner), by my late teens and early twenties, I was venturing into the more modern terrain of Bruckner, Mahler, … Continue reading ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF MOZART’S DEATH: WHY CATHOLIC?

BROTHER COBWEB AT THE HOUSE OF SHADOWS IN GRESHAM, OREGON 2015

THE HOUSE OF SHADOWS (Oregon) Brother Cobweb on the short bus to perdition ©2015 Alfred Eaker

Brother Cobweb on the short bus to perdition ©2015 Alfred Eaker

When I moved to Portland, the last thing I expected was to get involved in another haunted house attraction. However, upon seeing an advertisement for the full contact House Of Shadows seeking a casting director, I contacted the owners: Ashley Ries, Nathan Fultz, and Troy Carpenter. In the previous full contact haunted attractions I had worked, my primary position was in casting and I often assisted in commercial painting. However, when I involuntarily was expected to assist in building, it was a case of oil meet water. After my initial interview with the House Of Shadows team, I was elated to discover that the House Of Shadows wanted me strictly for casting.

I soon found that The House Of Shadows redefined a new meaning in Full Contact, being far more intense than previous experiences. Their numbers (three to four times higher in Oregon than previous locations) reflected West Coast taste for amped contact. Over the course of pre-season (and getting down to the wire, as usual) I volunteered to assist in commercial painting as well.  During the next two weeks, I was able to engage in much dialogue with Nate Fultz and discovered that he too sprang from an intensely negative evangelical background.

Beware the demon Frogg ©2015 Alfred Eaker

The Demon Frogg, on Brother Cobweb’s Bus To Perdition at the House Of Shadows, Gresham © 2015 Alfred Eaker

With Nate, I shared slivers of my Brother Cobweb narrative, a novel I am working on. The title character was a comic strip I created in the early 70s, which was my private, horrific parody of the visiting evangelist preachers who frequented my mother’s Pentecostal church (one of whom was Jim Jones). Shortly after that, Nate viewed my online video performance of the character and asked me something, which took me by surprise: “Alfred, would you be willing to perform the Brother Cobweb character on the bus?”

Brother Cobweb. House of Shadows.Bus to perdition. Gresham, Oregon

The bus is the customers’ passage into the attraction, not within the haunt itself. Still,  I was initially skeptical. “I thought this was straight up traditional horror?” “Alfred, you and I both know damned well that charismatic fundamentalist shit is true horror.” Nate was not only right, but his proposal was one of such obvious simplicity, that the idea might have flown over my head a few years back. I agreed to perform the character. Needeless to say, there were a few provoked patrons, but Portland has a solid reputation for embracing weirdness and the reception was far more positive than I could have imagined.

Brother Cobweb. House of Shadows, Bus to perdition. Gresham, Oregon.

Naturally, I tweaked the character to fit part of the haunt’s narrative, which was relatively easy given that we had zombie go-go dancers, demons, and fortune tellers.  All of these are iconic elements of fundamentalism’s wave of hysteria run amok; anti-superstition superstition.

Brother Cobweb. House of Shadows, Bus to perdition. Gresham, Oregon (with Frogg)

Although I have not done performance art in a public setting for years, this was akin to a jumping back in the water experience. Many of the crowds erupted into applause after I  grabbed a patron and engaged them in Brother Cobweb’s Holy Ghost Takin’ Over The Service Dance.  I could never have done this performance in the midwest, so it was a helluva lot of fun (although requiring plenty of throat lozenges). Better yet, the experience was exhilerating enough to gift me a reshaped ending for the upcoming novel. Included here is a visual scrapbook from our 2015 House Of Shadows season (with our Christmas haunt as well).

Frogg %22Come on board Brother Cobweb's Bus To Perdition!%22 ©2015 Alfred Eaker

Frogg, Demon from the Bowls Of Hell ©2015 Alfred Eaker

Continue reading “BROTHER COBWEB AT THE HOUSE OF SHADOWS IN GRESHAM, OREGON 2015”