In the run-up to Halloween, we're re-posting some of Zeena's past Samhain-specific articles and vintage pictures. This first installment is from Zeena's VICE Magazine column titled, "Halloween in a Satanic Household"
To the article:
"As I write this, I'm already decked out in orange and black apparel in preparation for the most wonderful holiday of the year. I'm happy Berlin's finally caught up to the joys of that kooky American custom Samhain, because for the first quarter century of my life, back when I was the devil's defender, Halloween wasn't the fun and merriment it was for many others.
Statistically, crime rates rise on Halloween night, so you can imagine the kind of mayhem the HQ of the Church of Satan—a black house centered in one of San Francisco's most conservative, pastel-lined districts—invited upon itself. Early 70s San Francisco was hit by a steep spike in the crime rate, with a special twist of Barbary Coast weirdness added by such local lunatics as the Zodiac Killer, who brought fear into the city even when it wasn't Halloween.
My parents didn't allow my friends to visit our house—my daily routine consisted of coming home from school, checking in for headcount, immediately escaping to a friend's house or going out alone to play, then reporting back for dinner at our kitchen's grim mess hall before bed check.
You might expect that this drill would be different on Halloween in the most celebrated Satanic household of the 70s, but Halloween was the same old same old. Rituals were only held for the rubes—no special ceremonies necessary for family, who were all a part of Chez LaVey's mitt-camp (criminal fortune-telling rings of the carnival). We didn't spend Halloween celebrating spooky self-indulgence. We spent the harrowing night warding off the many thrill seekers who picked our infamous dwelling as the perfect target-practice for Halloween vandalism. It was bad enough this was a problem every night of the year, but on Halloween it was guaranteed that maniacs would use our house for even more imaginative drive-bys.
Like a Dickensian feral child, I always found other neighborhood kids whose parents let me tag along on Halloween nights, to make sure I was safe.
When I was eight years old, I thought I had my Halloween strategy all worked out. One of my best friends, Frankie, a Chinese boy with a Siamese cat named Mamacita, persuaded his father to take us trick-or-treating. Frankie would dress as Batman, and I would dress as Catwoman. We spent weeks preparing for Halloween, ardently studying Batman reruns, learning our lines, staging dress rehearsals, and getting all our gear in order for the big day.
Frankie and I had a lot of adventures together, encouraging each other into mischief. One day when I showed up for our Halloween training, Frankie was particularly excited about something. In hushed tones, he said he had something to show me. We went into his parents' room, and as he pulled a cardboard box from under his father's bed, he enthusiastically told me, “I found a Q-U-I and other cool magazines! You won't believe it!”
What the hell is he talking about? “What's a Q-U-I?” I asked.
“You know,” he said, “magazines for men!”
Oh! Just as my eye landed on the title, it hit me, “You mean Oui! Sure, I know Oui. My father's got tons those kinds of magazines.” (Frankie misread the title of the October '72 premiere issue as beginning with a “Q.”)
Okay. So soft-core porn was a big news to Frankie, but it was small potatoes to me, considering I belonged to a family who first come to prominence having salacious rites covered in porn rags. Cute, I thought. But let's get back to Batman. So we didn't give it much more thought about the magazines... until the big day.
Halloween night 1972: I methodically got all decked out in my sexy hand-me-down black leotard, tights and turtleneck sweater. Applied my whiskers, tail, and cat ears. Added some Julie Newmar eyebrow pencil and super sneaky-silent ballet slippers for paws.
Every good little ghoul knew it was bad luck to begin trick-or-treating before sundown. But by 5 PM, I couldn't contain myself any longer. I bolted out of that black house like a cat out of hell. Pillowcase in hand, I charged over to the corner grocery store where Frankie lived in the upstairs flat. After a while, I banged impatiently on his door. I could hear Frankie padding down the stairs. Good! I thought. Now we're getting somewhere!
When Frankie opened the door, NOT in Batcostume, my heart sank. What happened? Frankie simply said, “I can't go with you tonight. My father found out about the Q-U-I,” and then shut the door.
To keep San Francisco safe, Catwoman prowled the darkened streets without the Caped Crusader. I spent a very scary couple of hours stalking the avenues alone, ardently fulfilling my Halloween vow: Give me trick-or-treat or give me death.
That Halloween night abruptly came to an end when I knew I'd gone to the wrong house. I ascended the stairwell to a flat absent of festive Halloween decorations, but took my chances ringing the bell in pursuit of one last Snickers bar or pack of Fizzies. The creepy, disheveled occupant looked at me like a trap-door spider looking at its prey.
He grinned with an unfriendly smile and said, “What do you want?”
Immediately, I realized I'd come to the wrong door. I made something up about confusing the house with my friend's and pivoted to leave. But he grabbed my arm and said, “That's okay, I don't have any candy, but you can come in, and I'm sure I can find something.” In a nanosecond, the survival fear-reflex propelled me down the stairs and straight home.
Just one of many close calls in my life. But as you can see by the photo of the booty I plundered, my rat Orwell was happy I returned home safely.
After renouncing Satanism in 1990, in favor of sharing life with more considerate and generous entities, I'm freed up to fully enjoy Halloween as I never could when I served in defense of an ungrateful devil." --Zeena Schreck
Posted to VICE magazine website on October 26, 2013, 3:00pm at: https://www.vice.com/en/article/4w7dg3/halloween-in-a-satanic-household
The last 23 copies of the limited first edition of The Zaum of Zeena sold out within 48 hours of going online! A fantastic turnout of support for Zeena's work! Because so many people continued ordering after the close of sales for the 1st edition and petitioned for a 2nd edition, we now have word from the publisher HEINZFELLER NILEISIST that a 2nd edition of The Zaum of Zeena is on its way!
If you missed out on the first edition, you can pre-order on this site NOW for the 2nd edition which will be ready in approx. 2 wks. Ordering inquiries should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Zaum of Zeena is now available on this site!
A Collection of Interviews, Essays,
Quotes and Images
Edited by Frank Haines
Published by HEINZFELLER NILEISIST
New Review of The Zaum of Zeena
by Luca Piccolo below in this post.
[La versione in lingua italiana di questa recensione si trova sotto il testo in inglese.]
This fine art zine was presented especially for the 10th annual
NY Art Book Fair 2015, at MOMA/PS1, Sept. 17-20, 2015
From the original Premiere Limited Edition of 50 -
Only 23 copies are left of the original first printing.
New Review of The Zaum of Zeena
by Luca Piccolo:
[La versione in lingua italiana di questa recensione si trova sotto il testo in inglese.]
The Zaum of Zeena, published by Frank Haines in 2015, is presented as a "collection of Interview, Essay, Quotes and Images" of the artist Zeena Schreck. Interviews closely analyze the most interesting aspects of the life, the thought and the philosophy that always accompanies Zeena. As is written in the first pages of this volume, "her art, like her music, is best understood as a non-verbal trans-rational branch of her spiritual teaching"; the best way to understand this is to read this text. In fact, Zeena's art is the main issue covered in the first interview presented in this volume, which happens to be my own interview with Zeena originally published in WSF (online art journal).
This is followed by excerpts from the interview with the author Konstantinos that focuses on exploring spirituality and the magical path of this artist. A theme which is then expanded upon in a different way in the wonderful interview with Che Chetty (for the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics, University of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa), where certain aspects of Tantra are analyzed and investigated. In this series of questions and answers we see two alternating fronts: the accademic vs. the practical knowledge.
The interview by Maxime Lachaud, drops us completely into the musical dimension of the artist, and investigates mainly the work that Zeena made with recordings for Radio Werewolf. Also relevant to her work during Radio Werewolf is an extract from "Mythos Wewelsburg: Fakten und Legenden" by Daniele Siepe, in which the artist explaines the reason for a particular position/asana she takes in a scene from her Video Werewolf film "Germany: The Theory of Ruins" (1992). Both of these interviews make us reflect on the meticulousness that the artist uses for the realization of every single opera. With this in mind, it spontaneously came to me how the composition of this volume was not at all left to chance.
Also included in this collection are two writings by Zeena originally published in the Beatdom Magazine # 11 (referring to "Liberation under the Snow Moon," the story of a salvific mission to free captive wolves from a fur farm) and Vice Magazine ("A Tale of Two Birds and Tantric Meditation ").
All the interviews are linked together through a series of quotes and images, which greatly augment the value of the text and make for a most pleasant and smooth reading experience. Between the lines we also see beauty and clarity: perhaps the two most emotionally engaging effects of this pubblication.
This is a text that gives to the general public the opportunity to open up to the understanding of Zeena Schreck and her art. It is certainly a must read by anyone interested in the spiritual and artistic aspects of Zeena. But also for those who have only a marginal interest in these topics, it is still a treat.
2015 Naples, Italy
The Zaum of Zeena, editato da Frank Haines nel 2015, si presenta come una “collection of Interview, Essay, Quotes and Images” dell’artista Zeena Schreck. Le interviste analizzano da vicino gli aspetti più interessanti della vita, del pensiero e della filosofia che accompagna Zeena da sempre.
Come appare scritto nelle prime pagine di questo volume “her art, like her music, is best understood as a non-verbal trans-rational branch of her spiritual teaching”; il miglior modo per comprenderlo è leggere questo testo. È infatti l’arte di Zeena la tematica principalmente trattata nella prima intervista, quella di Luca Piccolo.
Seguono poi alcuni estratti dall’intervista con l’autore Konstantinos che fa convergere le proprie domande su questioni che indagano la spiritualità e il percorso magico dell’artista. Tematica che poi verrà sviluppata in un altro modo nella stupenda intervista con Che Chetty (for the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics, University of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa), dove sono invece analizzati e indagati alcuni aspetti del Tantra, in questa serie di domande e risposte vediamo alternarsi due fronti: quello accademico e quello della conoscenza pratica.
L’intervista di Maxime Lachaud, ci cala completamente nella dimensione musicale dell’artista, e indaga principalmente il lavoro che Zeena ha compiuto con le registrazioni di Radio Werewolf; così come nell’estratto da “Mythos Wewelsburg: Fakten und Legenden” di Daniele Siepe, viene spiegata una posizione/asana che l’artista assume in una scena di “Germania: The theory of Ruins” (1992), from Video Werewolf film. Entrambe le interviste ci fanno riflettere sulla meticolosità che l’artista utilizza per la realizzazione di ogni sua singola Opera. Tenendo presente ciò, sorge spontaneo il pensiero che anche la composizione di questo volume non sia affatto stata affidata al caso.
Sono inoltre inclusi in questa raccolta due scritti della stessa Zeena già pubblicati su Beatdom Magazine # 11 (parliamo di “Liberation under the Snow Moon”, racconto di un’azione salvifica per liberare alcuni lupi) e su Vice Magazine (“A Tale of Two Birds and Tantric Meditation”).
Le citazioni e le immagini che compongono quest’opera fanno da anello di congiunzione tra tutte le interviste, e aumentano notevolmente il valore del testo, oltre a renderlo ancora più piacevole e scorrevole. Tra le pagine vediamo quindi affiancarsi la bellezza e la chiarezza: forse i due elementi emotivamente più coinvolgenti dell’opera.
È questo un testo che dà al grande pubblico la possibilità di aprirsi alla comprensione di Zeena Schreck e della sua Arte. Va indubbiamente letto da chiunque abbia interesse per il percorso spirituale e artistico di Zeena, ma anche, da chi ha solo un interesse marginale per le tematiche trattate.
NEW BOOK RELEASE THIS WEEKEND AT