The Week of September 30th - October 6th


Words according to All of Us

Icebreaker questions are usually designed to be innocuous conversation starters for people who are interested in getting to know one another better or simply to avoid those uncomfortable moments of deafening silence when coming face-to-face with strangers or new acquaintances.

Raven Vanguard believes there is enduring value in transparency. So with that noble idea in mind, Dakota will, from time-to-time, as part of our Weekly Once-over series, craft a set of icebreaker questions intended to reveal the inner workings and behind the curtain details of Raven Vanguard’s kaleidoscopic mind’s eye. Or, as Anne Shirley, once said – that which gives scope to our imagination.

So, down the rabbit hole we go…………….


If You Had Your Own Talk Show, Who Would Your First Three Guests Be?

T: God Herself, Saint Teresa of Avila, and either the Goddess Inanna or Circe. According to Wife and Dakota, the less said about my choice of guests, the better. But I will say this - since I am always exploring unconventional ways to tear at the fabric of the temple curtain, my first guests would be utterly capable of annunciating a womanly apocalyptic turn or delivering a thought-provoking feminine blow to man’s patriarchal empire. I dutifully spend considerable time contemplating the reemergence of the feminine divine. The idea that Christ may have actually been a woman is anathema to every misogynist who continues to espouse the bullshit notion that patriarchal power is the truth underlying all existence. My guests will explode this fallacy to smithereens once and for all. It is high time that mankind embraces and succumbs to the captivating influence of the Female Principle.

B: Hmm, can we change Talk Show to reality show? I think my dear friend Bhakti and I would create a very entertaining reality show. Maybe we would bring a few guests on every now and then. 

D: I made this list (out of questions I found online) but honestly I hate this question. It is hard. I don’t love my voice or have enough stage presence to host a talk show. But if I did, I would have Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark of My Favorite Murder, my favorite podcast (see what I did there), and probably my mom on my show. Because she’s crazy and cool and I love her.

What Is Your Real Favorite Movie, And What Movie Do You Pretend Is Your Favorite To Sound Cultured?

T: Let me start by saying, that thanks to the inartistic and overly-commercialized output of post-1970’s Hollywood, movies have never been my thing; now, film on the other hand - well you get my drift. To understand my point of view, compare the artistry of Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1928 French silent film La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc to any garbage Hollywood summer blockbuster.

I have taken the position many times that identifying a favorite film is as futile an exercise as naming my favorite album. For me, art of every kind is not subject to treatment or categorization in absolute terms. 

As far as pretending about a favorite anything just to sound cultured? I’ve never felt the need to impress anyone so much that I would stoop so low as to falsely identify with some piece of so-called art that has been objectified by the masses.  

B: I never have favorites of anything. That’s kinda my “thing”. It’s also my “thing” to fall asleep during movies. 

D: Favorite movie? Kiki’s Delivery Service. It is the oddest feeling of nostalgia every time I watch it, especially during the opening scene when Kiki is laying in the field listening to her radio. That movie was the first hint of magick and witches in my life. Favorite movie series? Star Wars. Duh. A girl doesn’t have a lightsaber tattoo for nothing. And I would say, depending on the crowd, my favorite “cultured” movies to reference are Pulp Fiction and Blade Runner, because a little bit of cult classics never hurt anybody.

What food do you love that a lot of people might find a little odd?

T: I’m not sure where this falls on the culinary oddness spectrum, but I’m thinking raw quail eggs over ikura.

B: It might not be as odd as much as it is controversial- cilantro. I each a bunch of it every morning!

D: Dill pickle chips. Does that count as a food? I don’t care.

What songs would be played on a loop in hell?

T: Since hell may be calling me someday, I’m going to go with a suite of songs that bring me never-ending and overwhelming joy - Close to the Edge by Yes; Lark’s Tongues in Aspic, Part One by King Crimson; King Kong Suite by the Mothers of Invention; and Out to Lunch by Eric Dolphy. 

B: The Yellow Submarine by the Beatles.

D: Katy Perry’s Firework, Baby by Justin Bieber, Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen, and Rebecca Black’s Friday. I shutter even picturing it.

What book had the most significant impact on you?

T: As far as modernist literature is concerned, James Joyce’s Ulysses surely had an impact of sorts, and as far as antiquarian works go, Miguel de Cervantes’ El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha comes immediately to mind, and whenever I need a stark reminder about the potentially destructive force of sheer lunacy, I look no further than Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

B: This one took me a bit to think about. There are plenty of books that have had significant impacts on my life in different ways. But I’m going to answer this one literally because this book had a major physical impact on my life:The Medical Medium. It completely resonated with me spiritually during the lows of a health crisis and the protocols are what got me on a track to healing. I feel like it pretty much saved me. 

D: The whole damn Harry Potter series. Yes, as a kid I dressed up in a robe and went to the BOOK releases. Nerd life forever and proud of it.

Would you ever try space tourism, if you had the money for it?

T: And leave behind the blessed sensuality of the current incarnation of Raven Vanguard’s beloved Music Room? Are you fucking kidding me!

B: No, I’m too afraid of the dark.

D: Can you eat soup dumplings in space? No? Count me out. Also, have you ever seen the movie WALL-E? Double hell no to space travel.

What weird thing do you have nostalgia for?

T: I am certain Dakota concocted this particular icebreaker just for me. Let’s call it my irresolvable puzzlement – women cloaked in religious attire, particularly woman scantily adorned in Benedictine black. OK, I’m finally willing to publicly admit that my fascination with nuns is not an innocent one any longer, but has developed into a full-blown and uncontrollable carnal obsession. The iconography of the nun revitalizes my Hail Mary past and the fetishistic and idolatrous imaginations of my misspent childhood. My mind forever trapped between the vagaries of sensuality and sacrilege. Where is Tamarie Novo when I need her most?

B: There were these strange little clover looking plants that used to be in my grandparent’s driveway. I miss the smell of them. I’ve never seen them anywhere else. It makes me happy when I think of the smell!

D: The smell of old cigarette smoke and must in my grandma’s basement, her pool table with the dusty velvet cover, and the retro basement bar right next to it with the counter-mounted pull chain light fixture.

What fashion trend needs to be brought back?

T: Benedictine Black as seen through the eyes of Alexander McQueen.

B: Anything Victorian, although it doesn’t seem like it would be as comfortable as yoga pants. 

D: 1910’s duster coats and lace up boots (kind of already back, but cool nonetheless).

What smell do you hate that doesn’t seem to bother other people?

T: Same as Brooke and Dakota, I am loathed to synthetic and artificial fragrances wherever they may be found. I also detest being overpowered by cheap and unnatural colognes and perfumes. Scents should be about breathtaking subtlety and understated delicacy, not headache-inducing foul odors and olfactory overload.

If you want to understand fragrance and scent done correctly, research the name Douglas Little and find your way to Heretic Parfum and the intimacy and nuance of Holi Water, among other blissful offerings.

B: I could add so many things to this list. Any artificial scent- candles, fabric softeners, detergents...

D: ARTIFICIAL ORANGE AND CITRUS. Stop Carol, your citrus Febreze is giving me a headache.

What kind of art do you appreciate the most?

T: To me, having an appreciation for art is different than adoring a particular art form. I tend to have an appreciation for those art forms that I do not love. Art forms I revere - music, film, interior design, writing, visual erotica, religious fine art, dark art, the creations of Alexander McQueen, the architecture of holy places, and the culinary arts. If art doesn’t fit into these categories, as long as it is not mass-produced, I will at least have an appreciation for it.

B: Architecture and Interior Design 

D: Besides Interiors which is obvious, weird small-scale sculpture. Weird illustrative work. And talented tattooers. (Literally almost anything that is exhibited at Revolution Gallery in Buffalo.) Gretchen Lewis, Sophie R. Bilbao (@crookedteeeth_), Magda Hanke (@magda_hanke), Lloyd Stratton (@lloydstratton), Death & Milk (@deathandmilk_), Ramon Maiden (@ramonmaiden), Miso aka Karen Hsiao (@artofmiso), Cindy Vega (@cindyvegatattoo), just to name a few. I could go on and on and on.

If you were the president, what would you change about the decorations in the White House?

T: With impeachment looming over him like a tempest cloud of black, an argument can be made that Trump is nothing more than mere decoration at this point; and a truly distasteful and repugnant decorative object he is. So, if I were Trump, I’d do the sensible thing and kiss my ass goodbye. The design goal being, addition by subtraction.  

B: I’m thinking about going over the top with wild colors, lots of patterns and  offensive artwork. Or perhaps a circus theme? Seems appropriate. 

D: Can I steal Brooke’s idea of offensive artwork? Also I like the idea of graffiti murals and a whole lot of neon lights.