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The Italian actress Cinzia Monreale lies in her coffin on the cover of SOLEDAD Arts Journal‘s second volume, available now on Amazon for just $6 in the US, or £4.73 in the UK. It’s a still from Buio Omega (Beyond the Darkness), a 1979 horror flick, accompanied by a splendidly bizarre quote: “Darkness is not dark … time is not time … boys become dogs … girls become frogs …” 

The movie was directed by Aristide Massaccesi, better known as Joe D’Amato, who died twenty years ago. While he never quite achieved the cult status of a Dario Argento, editor Jeremy R. Richey notes that there was no genre D’Amato was afraid to touch, “from insanely gory horror to period-piece hardcore.” In tribute, Jeremy interviews fellow D’Amato fan Samm Deighan, associate editor of Diabolique magazine; and illustrator Justin Coffee, who has created new poster art for the Blu-Ray release of Emanuelle in America (1977.)

Jeremy is currently working on a book about the original Emanuelle star, Sylvia Kristel, and Marcelline Block shares her memories of interviewing the late composer Francis Lai, who scored Emanuelle 2, Un Homme at Une Femme, and Love Story. Further extracts from The Project on French Voices are also published, including profiles on singer Charles Aznavour (who died last year aged 94), and one of my favourite writers, Sidonie Gabriele Colette, who “possessed the husky, gravelly voice of a peasant, rolling the Burgundian ‘r’ …”

Elsewhere in the world of film, John David Levy singles out Sophia Grimani and Gillian Waldo as emerging artists. “As we close this crazy decade,” Levy writes, women filmmakers are shaping “an almost new American avant-garde.” Another regular contributor, Heather Drain, shares an interview with Paul Johnson, a pioneer in erotic photography.

“This volume of SOLEDAD was compiled in the Spring of 2019 for the Summer of 1989,” Jeremy writes in his preface, and the issue begins and ends with Psychic TV lyrics from Genesis P. Orridge. I turned seventeen that summer, and this double page spread – featuring vintage ads for Mickey Rourke in Johnny Handsome and Madonna’s Like a Prayer – could have been taken from my bedroom wall. (you can read my tribute to La Ciccone’s early masterpiece here.)

Nostalgia, tempered with realism, runs through two of this issue’s short stories. Michael A. Gonzales, whose music and literary journalism I greatly admire, conjures a lost world of New York adolescents in Grafitti City…

‘Don’t worry Dorian, ’cause this shit ain’t over till it’s over,’ he whispered. ‘Those cops ain’t got no idea that there’s a revolution coming, an art revolution that ain’t got nothing to do with museums and money. Us uptown heads ’bout to get busy, ya know, burn baby burn and all that good shit.’

And Les Bohem brings us his tenderest tale yet, Feather Bed, imbued with an all-too- familiar sense of having arrived at the wrong place, at the wrong time…

Reina was a child of the late sixties, just too young to ride the crest of  the wave, maturing in the cynical swamp of Manson and poison acid that followed the first cloudburst of peace, love. and flowers. She felt that she had somehow missed something; that she had no generation.

In his science fiction piece, The Instanbul Gnosis, Robert Monell blends past and future, summoning figures like Hitchcock and Kali…

There was a wild kind of power in her eyes. I heard an interior voice, whispering, feminine, commanding, telling me to bring my sword down on her neck … There was a mixture of rage and pain in her eyes, but not a trace of fear. I blinked and was lost in darkness.

Another regular, Emily Jane Bryant, presents Puddle Grassed Summers, comprising four new poems and accompanied by imagery from Jeremy. Emily makes subtle changes tangible, while Rory DeMaio’s five poems take the opposite route, untangling “the last boiled bits of a tired trauma.”

Finally, the second part of my Twin Peaks series (now a trilogy) spans sixteen pages. It is dedicated to actress Peggy Lipton alias Norma Jennings, who has sadly passed away. The RR Diner will forever mourn its resident angel.

And talking of Kali, and girls who become frogs, this essay brings us up-to-date with the young lady who swallowed a frog-moth … voicing the pain and anger of women like Sarah Palmer and Audrey Horne, and the loneliness and heartache of men like Ed Hurley and Bobby Briggs which continues to haunt Twin Peaks.”