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1  noun  ˈbläg, -ȧg   plural -s
2  intransitive verb   -ed/-ing/-s
: to talk pretentiously and usually inaccurately : lie boastfully

Alphabet Mafia, and: It's Lit! MysteryWick Collab

Phoole Patreon Platoon members received early access to this splendid nugget, plus more special writing that's just for them! Level up to secret knowledge:

Photo of Scrabble wooden letter tiles scattered on a wood surface by Sven Brandsma via Unsplash. The Phoole and the Gang fuchsia flag floats in the lower left corner.

Alphabet Mafia

Until yesterday, I was planning on not doing a show again this week. I just had nothing.

Perimenopause! It's pretty dumb. I sure do hate it. I sure loathe having to apply socio-emotional brakes at every single strong emotion, and all of my emotions are strong lately. Until yesterday, I was pretty sure art was over for me, finished, done, forever, or at least until or if a durable vaccine happens, which feels less likely each passing day. Every nerve tells me to dig a hole and bury myself until I can calm the hell down. All I want to do is do Jane the Phoole gigs and live in-person gigs, and also to be able to hug friends whom I love, and eat food with them, even. I want to do the one thing I'm really, really good at. I want to do the thing I'm made for.

I haven't written much, and certainly not enough, about that BARBIE movie. I saw it on my birthday; I loved it. I LOVED IT. I scream-cried through most of it. These two statements are not incompatible. My love is pretty tempestuous. On Tuesday night, it became available to watch online, and I watched it again, thinking its Greta-Gerwiggery would yank me up out of my existential-dread-nihilism abyss, completely forgetting that the entire movie has its own existential-dread-nihilism abyss baked directly into it, so, hey, that was a Terrible Idea, and it Did Not Work, and I went to sleep crying and woke up with my eyes glued shut from leaky sleep tears.

And then Milwaukee ended up in the national reactionary crosshairs, all because our police department's LGBTQIA+ liaison successfully reformed procedure to protect victims.

I'm not going to link to any of the stories in any media, because they're all frankly horrible stories dipping the measure in clickbait magnesium and setting it on fire - basically, a step was taken that helps protect crime victims, but because it originated with the LGBTQIA+ liaison, and it's 2023 and there's yet another terrifying and divisive election next fall, I started fielding crazy hate mail, because that's part of my dayjob. Unless the hate mail is specifically addressed to an official, and most of it isn't, I simply archive it away and direct its nonsense into the ground.

But I couldn't take any of it seriously at all, because the messages all seemed to just be silly little machine-learning script permutations, all lambasting Milwaukee for capitulating to the insidious whimsy of "the Alphabet Mafia," a term for the LGBTQIA+ community, originally coined by creaky-dusty reactionaries who are still mad as hell about Adam and Steve, but more recently appropriated by the community itself, partly as a way to sneak around "social"-media algorithms that bury LGBTQIA+ hashtags and content if they can detect it.

If any actual humans tappity-tapped the anti-Alphabet-Mafia screeds I swiftly archived yesterday, well, they can die mad. Imagine being so enraged at the thought that someone who is already suffering might be spared the smallest measure of pain.

And as I was barking with laughter imagining some hateful exurbanites mashing their keyboards trying to spell "Alphabet," it hit me - I must do an alphabet-themed show on Friday. Weird that I had to get mad before I could get creative, but I am apparently becoming an entirely new person.

My music library is full of hours of tunes that have names that are just abbreviations, or that have abbreviations in them, or that have lyrics that are about reciting the ABCs, and the show's playlist fell into place in about an hour, and it's once again an exciting variety of subgenres and sounds!

The Alphabet Mafia episode of Phoole and the Gang will be live on the internet tonight (Friday, 15 September 2023) from 6:00 p.m. Central US time - visit and click or tap the jolly, candy-like buttons for (the best experience) or or Twitch to join in the fun as it happens!

A synchronous experience is not mandatory. Time zones are crazy, and life is too much, so you can enjoy the show whenever and however you want to by visiting after the show is live too!

It's Lit! MysteryWick Collab

MysteryWick's The Green Hour puzzle candle box. The box is a squat rectangular green box with an antique-paper visual texture. The text "The Green Hour" is in large early-art-deco typeface across the middle top of the box. Beneath that is the text "Absinthe - Tabac - Deception." The box is nestled in a scattered variety of green and decaying plants; to the right of the box, a glass of absinthe, freshly-louched, stand ready to be consumed. A miniature trowel lies in front of the right lower corner of the box, a bright red powder crushed beneath it.

Our dear friend Chloe Arbiture is a Production Designer in Hollywood - except NOPE NOT RIGHT NOW, because of the industry shutdown from the strikes. She's not crossing picket lines, and we say SOLIDARITY.

Time off of the high-pressure insanity of show business means that Chloe can connect with artists whose work and passions she loves and make new things happen with them, and she and her super-pal Chelsea, a fellow Art Department professional in the biz with whom she worked on several recent shows, created MYSTERYWICK Puzzle Candles.

Here is what MysteryWick is, quoted from their website:

Inspired by an obsessive love for puzzles, mysteries, and candles, MysteryWick combines these elements creating a game experience like no other. MysteryWick is a one-of-a-kind puzzle encased in a candle. Inside the box lies a mystery waiting to be solved with your clever deduction. Every MysteryWick experience includes physical clues revealed within the wax, thoughtful puzzles and provocative scents that evoke the environment of our stories. All parts of MysteryWick, including our designed packaging, could contain a clue. We invite you to think outside the box. MysteryWicks are meant to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace. Savor the luxury scents while digging into the bespoke puzzles within.

We ordered the Green Hour Puzzle Candle and we're still 'burning' our way through it, slowly and absinthe-mindedly, working through all of the clues in the candle, the box, the scents, the entire package, to try to solve the puzzle. It's atmospheric, enchanting, and delighting our imaginations, all while its scents fill our house with delicious mystery. We've also just received the Halloween mystery set, and I cannot wait to fire that up and delve into the spoopy feelings!

Chloe and Chelsea asked me if I would curate playlists of music for the range of MysteryWick Puzzle Candles! WELL I COULDN'T REFUSE. Music is pretty important to me, and I've always daydreamed of being a music supervisor, so I agreed and started digging to see where my libraries and Spotify's arsenal overlapped.

Live now are two MysteryWick playlists, one for their Trick or Treat: Calling the Spirits adventure, and one for their Green Hour mystery! In the works is a playlist for their Oracle experience too; after that I'll be playlisting their 1975 road-trip horror mystery!

Enjoy all of the playlists as they're posted on Mysterywick's playlists page here! The Trick or Treat list is 1950s-era Halloween plus a few moderns in a zombie-surf modality; L'Heure Verte dips heavily into the absynthesized syncopations and downtempo delights of Madame Phoole's Panharmonium. Check out Mysterywick's site and indulge in a puzzle candle if you like! IT'S LIT!

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