Jefe's House

The Truth Is In Here

Yoga Declared Satanic

by on Jan.06, 2014, under Shaheb Cafe, The Truth Is In Here

Pope Francis is rumored to have performed an exorcism during a Mass in St Peter’s Square last May. [Photo via telegraph.co.uk.]

Beware, yoga practitioners:  your sun salutations and downward dogs might lead to harder things . . . like Hinduism.  Father Francesco Bamonte, who heads the Italy-based International Association of Exorcists, warns the world that yoga is a gateway to demonic possession. More in the London Telegraph‘s recent article,  ‘Rise of Exorcists in the Catholic Church‘, in which we learn the Vatican has launched a program to train a global strike force of devil exterminators.

Don’t worry, you can always do Christ-centered stretching from now on to out-maneuver Beelzebub, like the kind offered at Christ Centered Yoga in Norcross, GA or Yahweh Yoga in Chandler, AZ.

I for one am eagerly awaiting Christ-centered Kama Sutra classes.

 

 

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Supernatural Skeptics Don’t Know What They’re Missing

by on Oct.31, 2013, under The Press, The Sixth Boro, The Truth Is In Here, Theatre

wapobanner2October 31, 2013

These ghosts are primed and ready to provide a ghoulish Halloween.

These ghosts are primed and ready to provide a ghoulish Halloween.

On Faith

Supernatural Skeptics Don’t Know What They’re Missing
by Jeffrey Stanley

I try contacting the spirit world before live audiences to keep an element of hope simmering on the back burner of my mind.

I like Ouija boards. I’ve used them since I was a teenager.  More recently I’ve messed around with electric spirit boxes, also known as Frank’s boxes after their inventor Frank Sumption.  They’re radio receivers which allow you to listen to and record voices of the dead, also known as EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena) or Raudive voices, after one of their early discoverers.  Over the past two years I have frequently used Ouija boards and spirit boxes in my performance art, attempting to conjure up the dead as my co-stars before a live audience.  At one of the universities where I teach playwriting and screenwriting part-time I am also the faculty adviser for a student-led paranormal investigation club.  Friends and fans assume I am a true believer but the truth is that I am not.  I am a healthy skeptic.  And that’s depressing for me because it means that on some level I feel certain there’s nothing out there. I try contacting the spirit world before live audiences to keep an element of hope simmering on the back burner of my mind. (continue reading…)

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Boneyards Final Shows This Weekend

by on Oct.30, 2013, under Shaheb Cafe, The Press, The Sixth Boro, The Truth Is In Here, Theatre

Come wake the dead.  BONEYARDS returns for 2 final shows this Saturday and Sunday 11/2 and 11/3 in Philadelphia.  Times and tickets.

Meanwhile please enjoy my latest article in today’s Washington Post about my theatrical experiments in contacting the dead as performance art over the past two years.  Thank you for your support and patronage, and Happy Halloween.

wapobanner2October 31, 2013

On Faith
Supernatural Skeptics Don’t Know What They’re Missing
by Jeffrey Stanley

I try contacting the spirit world before live audiences to keep an element of hope simmering on the back burner of my mind.

I like Ouija boards. I’ve used them since I was a teenager.  More recently I’ve messed around with electric spirit boxes, also known as Frank’s boxes after their inventor Frank Sumption.  They’re radio receivers which allow you to listen to and record voices of the dead, also known as EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena) or Raudive voices, after one of their early discoverers.  Over the past two years I have frequently used Ouija boards and spirit boxes in my performance art, attempting to conjure up the dead as my co-stars before a live audience.  At one of the universities where I teach playwriting and screenwriting part-time I am also the faculty adviser for a student-led paranormal investigation club.  Friends and fans assume I am a true believer but the truth is that I am not.  I am a healthy skeptic.  And that’s depressing for me because it means that on some level I feel certain there’s nothing out there. I try contacting the spirit world before live audiences to keep an element of hope simmering on the back burner of my mind. CONT’D>>

And also out today from Drexel University a story about the PIG of which I’m the proud faculty adviser…

drexelnow_overDrexel Paranormal Investigators Haunted by the Unknown
by Alissa Falcone
…It doesn’t hurt that the group’s faculty adviser also has an interest with the undead: By day, Jeffrey Stanley teaches classes in the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design’s Screenwriting and Playwriting Department, but at night he transforms into undead residents of cemeteries from all over the world during “Boneyards,” his performance that imagines supernatural comic monologues.CONT’D at drexel.edu>>

 

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BONEYARDS City Paper Preview

by on Sep.05, 2013, under The Press, The Sixth Boro, The Truth Is In Here, Theatre

BONEYARDS is back from the dead to rock your underworld.  Four new post-Fringe shows in October just in time for Halloween. 10/17/13, 10/20, 11/2 and 11/3. Only 20 seats per show, get ‘em before they’re gone.

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Blood, guts and experimental theater

by Shaun Brady, 09/05/2013

“… Maybe it’s the darker sensibility of an audience primed for avant-garde theater, but Fringe is second only to Halloween in terms of people being ready to buckle down and open their minds to horrific subject matter … Jeffrey Stanley had little need to seek out horror films or literature as a child: He grew up next door to a funeral home in rural Virginia. ‘My bedroom window looked directly into their embalming room and they never closed the curtain,’ Stanley recalls. ‘So at night I’d go up there and watch, and I could see the body laid out on the slab. For whatever reason it never scared me; I thought it was fascinating.’

That’s one story Stanley will recount in Boneyards (Sept.8-17, Shivtei Yeshuron-Ezras Israel), the one-man semi-sequel to his 2011 Fringe hit Beautiful Zion: A Book of the Dead. The show takes place in the basement of a century-old storefront synagogue and, for its final performance, at Laurel Hill Cemetery … As in Beautiful Zion, Stanley will conclude with a Ouija board séance, a habit he began at a teenage New Year’s Eve party. ‘We were sitting around the kitchen table in the dark and crazy things started happening. We’re all convinced that by the end of the night we spoke to Jimi Hendrix, he possessed my friend’s kitten and made it pluck his guitar strings.’

Stanley insists that his obsession, like so much horror fiction, has a cathartic side. ‘As dark and macabre and creepy as it is, I hope it’s ultimately life-affirming. In the end it’s about loving life and taking away some of the fear of death that we have in our culture.’”  full story at citypaper.net>>

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Jeffrey Stanley, Boneyards rehearsal 9/3/13

And don’t forget to watch and listen to this historic first: a casting call for the dead.  The first round of open auditions for the spirit world was held in the 1895 coal cellar using the famed  P-SB7 AM/FM scanner for listening to EVPs.  Here are the results.  No tricks, no jokes. The transcript is also included along with a few afterthoughts but watch the video first.

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My Way or the Yahweh

by on Jul.23, 2013, under On the Road, Shaheb Cafe, The Press, The Sixth Boro, The Truth Is In Here

wapo

On Faith

A Jewish-Hindu connection

Jeffrey Stanley, 7/23/13

Talk about a crazy commute. After a spiritual encounter, a stranger and I spent the next 90 minutes discussing the nature of the universe.

Not so long ago after nearly 25 years as a hidebound New Yorker I moved to Philadelphia for my wife Pia’s career needs, inadvertently becoming part of a popular regional migration known to urban statisticians as the 6th borough phenomenon. She’s Indian-American and we’re raising our child in a bilingual home. I’m a writer and professor. She’s a scientist by day and an Indian classical dance professional by night. Religiously we are at best agnostic but culturally we are Hindus, and will identify ourselves as such when pressed, like on the hospital intake form the first time we took our baby in for a routine doctor’s visit.

This identification sits well with me. Despite growing up Nazarene in the Bible Belt I had long ago developed an affinity for Hindu philosophy—ever since I’d come across a used copy of the Bhagavad Gita at a flea market in high school and realized how similar it was to the New Testament. I still remember the perplexed look on my Sunday school teacher’s face the morning I brought the Gita to church. I had marked the sections that reminded me of Christ’s words in the Sermon on the Mount with an orange highlighter and asked him why Hindus were all going to Hell and we Christians weren’t. Suffice it say I quit going to church not long after that. Christianity just wasn’t speaking to me. When I met my wife-to-be years later while canoeing in Brooklyn’s fetid Gowanus Canal I fell in easily with her cultural worldview. We were a match made in moksha.

Imagine my surprise when, on a recent Friday afternoon while returning to Philly on a crowded New Jersey Transit train out of Manhattan’s Penn Station I came face to face with the power of YHWH.  (continue reading…)

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Four Pairs of Sandals as an Act of Faith

by on May.15, 2013, under On the Road, Shaheb Cafe, The Press, The Truth Is In Here

May15, 2013

On Faith

Four Pairs of Sandals as an Act of Faith

Walking a mile in another man’s shoes leads to kismet

by Jeffrey Stanley

Three years ago I got married to my wife Bidisha in a traditional Hindu Bengali ceremony in Kolkata and spent three weeks touring the country. I bought a pair of sandals there which I wore throughout my trip and back home here in the States. This December my wife, our young son and I went back to India for a month to visit relatives. I brought my well-worn “India sandals” with me.  A week into the visit they broke irreparably and I tossed them. The location of their demise seemed appropriate — from India they had come and to India they would return. The next day while we were out sightseeing we stumbled upon a tiny shoe store, one of a zillion in Kolkata, where I found the perfect pair of replacement sandals. They were simple but unique enough that they suited me as a souvenir.

Nakhoda Masjid. Kolkata, West Bengal, India. January, 2013.

A few days later I struck out on my own for a sightseeing visit Nakhoda Masjid, the largest mosque in Kolkata, built in 1926. A billboard told me with no intended irony that this was Road Safety Week in India. Still the taxis, auto-rickshaws and pedestrians were up to their usual danse macabre.

After a requisite insane cab ride and a short walk down a crowded, narrow street full of screaming sidewalk merchants selling Muslim prayer rugs and other Islam-themed souvenirs I found the mosque. It was sparsely populated at that late morning hour. The (continue reading…)

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Hang in there, Boston

by on Apr.16, 2013, under The Truth Is In Here

The Standells perform Boston anthem “Dirty Water” on Dick Clark.

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Exquisite Corpses

by on May.05, 2011, under The Truth Is In Here

Review for the Brooklyn Rail of Down Among the Dead Men: A Year in the Life of a Mortuary Technician by Michelle Williams; 2010; Soft Skull Press

by Jeffrey Stanley

What lay in front of us was a headless body; fully clothed, but headless. Curiosity got the better of me and I just had to pull back the top of the body bag to see what other injuries this poor individual had sustained. Resting between his knees lay his motorbike helmet…‘Where’s his head?’ I asked.

Clive picked up the helmet with his gloved hands and said in a voice of perfect seriousness, ‘He had it gift-wrapped.’ Hanging from the bottom of it were ragged tatters of flesh and what appeared to be cervical vertebrae…looked into the visor and found myself fixated by the face behind it…As I was preparing myself to start the evisceration, I began to wonder how we could hope to make any difference to this man.

2010 was a year of the macabre in creative nonfiction. First came the popular The Poisoner’s Handbook by award-winning science writer Deborah Blum, followed closely by Douglas Perry’s The Girls of Murder City which I reviewed in the Rail last September. Michelle Williams’s Down Among the Dead Men: A Year in the Life of a Mortuary Technician completes the grisly triptych and differs from the other two in that it’s not a history lesson but a you-are-there contemporary memoir. Set in suburban Gloucestershire, about two hours west of London, the book details Williams’s rise from somewhat passionless health care assistant for the National Health Service to medical technical officer working in a hospital morgue, to manager of her own hospital mortuary.

The most surprising element of the narrative is Williams herself, who is neither a serious physician, impassioned science nerd, nor weird loner. She is a young, attractive,    CONT’D AT BROOKLYNRAIL.ORG>>

[image via realaspen.com]

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RIP James Heselden

by on Sep.27, 2010, under On the Road, The Truth Is In Here

In case you haven’t already heard, I must with heavy heart relay to you the sad news that Segway company owner James Heselden rolled off a cliff on his Segway and died yesterday in London.  He is not to be confused with the Segway’s creator and original company owner Dean Kamen.  Naturally the ‘net is already splitting at the seams with wisecracks (“maybe he was showing the post office that Segways can be used for air mail”). Even prior to this tragic event Youtube already featured a plethora of home vids depicting “Segway dorks,” “Segway nerds,” etc, etc. 

James Dean behind the wheel of his Porsche racecar. He died in a crash on the way to a race on September 30, 1955.

Well, I’m here to flip this thing upright and tell you that dying on a Segway doesn’t make Mr. Heselden lame, it makes him a motherfucking badass.  So you can run and tell that, homeboy.  You heard me.  Don’t believe it? I share as proof some private cell phone footage of my one and only Segway ride, a tour with friends through DC on April 29, 2007. Perhaps if you’ve got the guts you too will take command of a Segway someday and feel its gyroscopic power rumbling beneath your feet — unless of course you’re too chicken.

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[Photos via telegraph.co.uk and theselvedgeyard.wordpress.com.  Born to be Wild by Steppenwolf.]

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James Willie Jones is My New Hero

by on Sep.17, 2010, under The Truth Is In Here

Sanford girl hospitalized after reported bullying on school bus

James Willie Jones defended his daughter who suffers from cerebral palsy

Florida - “Deputies said that on the morning of Sept. 3, Jones boarded the school bus headed to Greenwood Lakes Middle School in Sanford because several boys on the bus were allegedly bullying his daughter.  Jones told deputies the boys had placed an open condom on his daughter’s head, smacked her on the back of the head, twisted her ear and shouted rude comments at her, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office report shows.  He told deputies he has complained to school administrators in the past, but nothing had been done about the alleged attacks on his daughter.”

There goes my hero
Watch him as he goes
There goes my hero
He’s ordinary

CONT’D AT ORLANDO SENTINEL>>

[photo via Orlando Sentinel; lyrics from Dave Groll]

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