Tuesday, February 12, 2008

ISSUE 17 - DEC 2006




The Subway Kid
by Brian Spinney

I was riding home on the 8-South train on a Tuesday afternoon, when it happened. I remember it was a Tuesday, because the Pistons were playing the Lakers and some of my friends were coming over to watch the game. Most days I walked home from school, but that Tuesday was too humid. Sweat formed on my stomach and shoulders the moment I stepped out of class and onto the sidewalk. The train’s air conditioner would make the twenty minute ride home just bearable.
I keep calling it a train, but let me clarify that. The 8-South is really a subway car that spends most of its time above ground ducking around buildings in the city. And it doesn’t travel south either. It goes from east to west, but it’s the most southern train in the city, and I’m pretty sure that’s where the name came from.
I waited for the train a block away from Harding High, where a few kids and some old people sat with me on benches that only faced the street. Most of the other kids took the bus everyday, because their stop, 8-Livingston, was the only stop that made it close to the suburbs. Even then, the kids still had to walk a few blocks to their neighborhoods.
My friend Scotty was walking up the sidewalk towards the bus stop, and as soon as he saw me, he started telling me why the Lakers were going to beat the Pistons tonight. Kobe Bryant was going to lead the Lakers to a title—I told him to keep dreaming. We had been at odds since Shaquille O’Neal had become a Laker.
A girl from my grade, Jennifer, was walking behind Scotty. It wasn’t that I could see her, but I could certainly hear her. She was loud and obnoxious, and she could never stop bragging about her brother who joined the navy. Today was no different as she told some girl with her that her brother was somewhere in Spain at this very moment. I turned my back as she approached, but she caught me rolling my eyes.
“What, Derek? It’s not like you could ever be in the navy.”
“Whatever,” I said. “Who wants to be in the navy, anyway?” Though it didn’t matter what I said, because the comeback was drowned out by the 8-South train as it rose from the ground and stopped a few feet away.
Scotty and I got in a car that was really old, the blue and silver paint was chipping away and ruining the graffiti someone had spent a lot of time creating. The name ‘trent’ or maybe it was ‘tree3’ was sprayed on the side, but when the doors opened, the last two letters disappeared into the folds of the door and I couldn’t read them.
I sat in the back and Scotty sat next to me. The train lurched forward and away from the stop. Everyone was quiet, except for Jennifer who had somehow made it on the same train as us. I could hear her talking at the front of the car to two girls who laughed at everything she said.
At Bowler Street, Scotty got off the train. He lived in the flats with his mom and his sister on the sixth floor, but I hated going to his place because we always had to walk up all those flights of stairs. I wished Scotty had been going to my house instead of his, because some old lady took his seat and crammed her bag between us. It was a giant shopping bag from a department store, but it looked like her purse. It was old and smelled moldy. It probably was mold. She was moldy.
I looked at her a couple of times out of the corner of my eye, but she wasn’t as interested in me. She just stared straight ahead with one hand in her lap and the other on her bag. As the train got up to speed, I turned my attention to watching the buildings go by. Each building was separated by city streets, and I did my best to notice something significant in each alley. Anything was better than brooding over the fact I was crammed on a bus seat with a smelly old lady.
The 8- was coming up to a turn, and I could feel myself falling into the bag lady. I leaned away from her as best I could, looking hard out the window as if my concentration could keep me from falling towards her. We came from under the bridge and I straightened up as soon as I could. I had to push off the lady’s bag with one hand, but she took offense and pulled it close to her like she feared I was going to take it.
She was a crazy old lady. I wanted to tell her not every kid was a criminal, but I thought better of it and went back to looking out the window. The buildings with their backs to me disappeared for awhile, and I could see Lemieux Street. Most people said “Lumex” and pronounced the letter x, but I tried to say it right. My mom had corrected me and told me the right way to say it when I was younger.
On Lemieux, I could see a couple of people standing behind a car. It looked like they were pushing each other, a couple of guys and a girl who was trying to pull one guy away from the fight. Another guy—I can only remember his bald head—marched towards the fight.
The bald man walked up to the man the girl was pulling away and raised his arm to the man’s chest. He shot the guy several times; the man fell onto the fence next to him, doing his best to remain standing. The girl was screaming, but I couldn’t hear her or the shots before that. I just watched the gun bounce in the bald man’s hands and other man’s body heaving immediately afterwards. The girl brought her hands up to her face and pulled at her hair. I filled in the sound effects in my head.
The man who was shot was wearing a blue windbreaker and it got caught on the fence as he fell. The bald man tucked the gun in his pants and started running away, and the guys who had started out pushing each other were running in all different directions.
The train kept moving and the people on Lemieux Street disappeared behind buildings. I tried to strain my view down alleyways to see the people again, but we were already too far ahead.
Were there three shots or four, I asked myself. Everything happened so fast. The only clear part was the guy grabbing onto the fence trying not to fall down. The bald man, I needed to remember him, too. In case I had to be a witness in court, but I couldn’t remember much about him. I could only see the gun bouncing each time he shot the guy in the windbreaker.
I looked behind me and ahead of me to see if anyone else on the train saw what I saw. All I wanted were eyes as frantic as mine to share what I had just seen. Jennifer and her friends weren’t even looking in that direction. They were still laughing at each other. I looked at the lady next to me a couple of times—she noticed after the third time.
“I just saw someone get shot,” I explained.
She looked at me for a moment then turned her head back to face the front of the train. Somebody was just shot, lady! The other people obviously hadn’t seen what I had or else they would’ve been looking around like me or telling the train operator to call the police or something. We needed to call the police. The “we” being my unwilling witness and myself. Didn’t anyone have a cell phone? But someone must have called the police by now—someone on Lemieux Street, right?
At the next stop, the bag lady moved to another seat across the aisle. She was definitely crazy—only a crazy person would act the way she had after hearing that someone had been shot. Still, I was glad she moved. It would’ve been better if she had taken her moldy smell with her, too.
I got off the 8- on Pearson Street, my house was around the corner. I was trying to think of what to tell my mom. Hey, Mom. Saw a guy get shot. Hey, Mom. Bang, bang, bang, bang. Dead man. I saw it. Actually, I didn’t see the guy die, but he must have been in pretty bad shape. I was trying to form the story for the sake of all the people I’d have to share it with.
I couldn’t find words that summed up the situation well enough. I kept looking in people’s yards where the grass meets the fence, but my thoughts jumped from how my friends would react when I told them and how much detail I’d have to go into. What did the guy in the windbreaker do to get shot in the middle of the day anyway? It might’ve been about the girl who was screaming. He could’ve just made the bald guy mad. Scotty’s brother got stabbed because he spilled his drink on a guy in a club. It could’ve been as simple as that.
I wasn’t paying attention, and I walked into the light post on the corner in front of my house. The bald guy shot the other guy and ran down Lemieux Street and jumped in a car and drove away. He was going to hide. The police were definitely looking for him. I couldn’t be sure about the last part, but it was what I imagined a person would do after they shot someone. He couldn’t just stand there with a gun in his hand.
Mom was cooking in the kitchen. I could smell the sauce when I stepped in the door; the sound of pots clanking together meant she was working on a big dinner.
“Hi, honey. How was school?”
I didn’t answer immediately. I didn’t need to though. I think she asked how school was to show she was paying attention to me. Her asking was like how some people ask, “How are you?” and don’t really care if you say anything back.
I sat at the kitchen table with my back to the wall. Mom had her back to me at the stove. I read the headlines on the front page of the paper, and I almost expected the shooting to be there. I could see the picture on the front-page—the bald guy had his arm outstretched with a gun in his hand and the other guy grabbing onto the fence with one hand and his face all curled up. But it was too early to be in the paper. It would be in tomorrow’s paper.
“It was alright,” I said. If anyone else had been in the house, they would’ve thought I was crazy to answer my mom’s question after so long.
“Did you ride the train home?”
“I saw someone get shot,” I said.
“On the train?” She spun around with a knife and half a tomato. She was concerned, her face full of worry.
“No, no,” I said, shaking my head, too. “A guy shot another guy a couple of times on Lemieux Street.” I was facing my mom, but I was really looking at the napkin holder on the table, I could see her off to the side.
“You weren’t there, were you?” She was still on full alert. I told her I was on the train.
“Oh,” she said, the concern disappearing from her face. She turned around and continued cutting the tomato on the cutting board. I could suddenly hear each thwack as she brought the knife down.
“Just as long as you’re okay.” Thwack, thwack. “You had me worried for a second that it happened on the train.” Thwack, thwack, thwack. There was scraping sound when she made room to cut more tomato.
“That’s what happens, Derek—when you get into drugs,” she said.
I stopped listening to her. My mom looked incredibly small. Her head was so small; she was so small. My small mom in her small kitchen with her small curtains and her small knife. The bun of her hair bobbed while she made dinner—she put a lot of effort into the way her hair looked.
I suddenly wanted to smash all her tomatoes and throw her sauce across the room, but I didn’t. I got up from the table and went into my room. How did she know it was because of drugs? How did she know? It wasn’t like I told her any details. She didn’t know there was a girl there, too. She didn’t even ask what I saw from the train.
I wanted light in my room and pulled up the blinds. There was the other side of the street—a green house and a blue house. The same houses that were always there, unchanging and neglected.
My mom didn’t care about the guy who got shot; she went back to cutting tomatoes as soon as I told her the shooting wasn’t on the train. Maybe I should’ve told her the guy got shot on the train instead. Then she would ask where I was and how it happened, what I saw and if the police showed up. She didn’t know that the guy was shot because of drugs. She always talked like that, but it was the first time it made me really made.
That night I watched the news instead of the game and told my friends I wasn’t feeling good, so they wouldn’t come over. I flipped over to check the score, but I was really watching the news. There was the four o’clock news on Channel 4 and the five o’clock news on WERI 25 and then updated news at ten. I watched them all, but none of them mentioned a shooting on Lemieux Street. I checked the paper the next day and watched the news that night, too, but there wasn’t a mention of anything that night either.
If I was a reporter, I would’ve made the shooting the lead story. I’d talk about the shots and what the guy falling down looked like and the girl who was screaming. The guy tried not to fall down, but he just got shot too many times.
I sat in the room and dribbled a basketball until my mom yelled from downstairs that the light in the kitchen was blinking. I held the ball and wondered who decided that the seams should run the way they do. I stared outside at the houses across the street—not at the lower part of the house, but straight across to the roof of the house where pine needles got stuck in the gutters.
My mom couldn’t have known it was because of drugs. She just couldn’t.


Local Wilmington Hasher, Bobby put his hashing skills to use recently. As a member of the Wrightsville Beach Hash House Harriers, he runs several miles of trail on Saturdays. During a hash run, one person, the hare, lays a trail with markers and a group of runners follow the trail that results in a cooler of beer.
It was during a lunch break that beer and running would merge together for the runner in a much different fashion. While shopping at the Scotchman at Kerr and Wilshire a man walked out the front door without paying for his beer. The clerk shouted at the man and he immediately took off.
Bobby was about five steps behind the beer thief and decided to try and catch him. The beer thief ran around the back of the building and Bobby went the other way, only to run into the store manager which slowed him down. The beer thief was running across the parking lot behind the Scotchman and Bobby took off again.
During the dash across the parking lot his flip flops flew off leaving Bobby to run barefoot for the next mile and a half or more. The thief ran across Kerr but traffic grew so thick that Bobby had to wait for a break to cross putting even more ground between them. Once across, Bobby ran around Dick’s and saw Beer Thief walking casually in front of Hollywood Video.
Between cars Bobby crouched and moved trying not to be seen. But to no avail, Beer Thief saw him and took off again along College Road. Bobby ensued, yelling at him. A man driving along pulled and motioned for Bobby to get in, having seen where the thief went.
Bobby jumped out at McAllister’s where he found a four foot metal pipe on the ground. A lady told Bobby she saw the man he was after, that he’d taken off his shirt and walked in front of McAllister’s. So Bobby ran inside the restaurant, sweaty, holding a metal pipe, and no shoes. Not seeing the man, Bobby quickly exited and continued the trail for Beer Thief along St. James Road in front of P.T.’s back towards Kerr again.
At Kerr, the Scotchman manager pulled up alongside Bobby suddenly and he got in. It was then they both spotted Beer Thief walking behind Goodwill Industries. Bobby exited the car seconds later at the entrance of Goodwill. Beer Thief saw how close Bobby was and dashed across Kerr, almost getting hit in both lanes, and continued towards Market Street.
On the other side of Kerr Bobby was running parallel to the thief but lunch time traffic was so terrible he couldn't cross. The thief kept looking across the road at Bobby, in which he finally yelled, "Why won't you leave me alone?!" apparently unaware that stealing is wrong and it may piss some people off.
“Because I can run for miles and miles!” Bobby responded. The thief shook his head and continued puffing for air. Bobby saw a break in traffic along Kerr and launched the metal pipe across the road at him, striking his leg and down he went. Both men were surprised at the luck.
Two cars passed in front of Bobby, allowing the thief enough time to get up and run again. As Bobby finally crossed the thief took a left on Hoggard Drive, eventually entering Wimbledon Chase Apartments. Bobby slowed down in case he went in to the woods, and saw him run into a construction site. The thief walked up to the men standing at the site, said something, then walked away briskly, probably behind the house they were tearing down.
Bobby approached them and asked where the man went. They nonchalantly responded "we don't know him." Bobby supposed that the thief was in the house or the woods. A few moments later, the Scotchman manager showed up, and Bobby got back in the car and the beer was returned to the Scotchman cooler.
So depending on your view of all things big and small and what is okay to steal or not to steal you may have a different opinion on this minor criminal episode. Consider this, we all love something free, especially beer, but you can’t go around just stealing it. Plus, theft will only make things more expensive for everyone else.


P5 is more than just a letter and a number. P5 is a small, sweltering hole in the wall cluttered with empty drink bottles, amps, miscellaneous instruments, effects pedals, Christmas lights, and posters. Yet, P5 is also the “womb” for the embryonic band, Man Thinking.
The term “embryonic” is not descriptive of anything other than their short five months of existence. Within these past five months Man Thinking has grown from a one man looping project into a three man, multi-instrumental compilation, or in the words of the actual band members, “just some dudes playing some music.” These “some dudes” are Bryan Keller, Jarrod Drobot, and Daniel Beech. Bryan, the original seed, coined the band’s name out of a reference to an Emerson speech read in high school.
“The speech was about ‘thinking for yourself,’ thinking in terms of circles, rather than inside of a box,” Bryan revealed. “It just sort of related to the fact that we’re all self-taught musicians and how looping is all about circles.”
Man Thinking reveals both a thought and musical process outside any sort of rectangular confinement. Influenced by bands like Do/Make/Say/Think, Cinematic Orchestra, and Minus The Bear, their electronic, experimental, and ambient approach to music is a breath of fresh air in a town polluted with hardcore, metal, and balls to the wall rock and roll bands.
“We definitely pride ourselves in creating a bunch of different songs with different sounds and different instruments. There is no ‘set’ style to our music. We’re just constantly evolving,” Bryan further explained.
Not only does Man Thinking pride themselves on being different, but in finding ways to improve. “We are a young band, still rough around the edges so we definitely have room for improvement,” said Jarrod.
Currently the band is seeking improvement by incorporating more instruments as well as learning more about recording. At the Halloween show held at The Soapbox, they introduced a new song they’ve currently been working on at practice. The reaction was a room full of swaying heads, tapping feet, drumming fingers and numerous compliments.
However appreciative the band is of compliments, they explain that the most gratifying experience is coming up with a new song. “It feels much better writing a song than getting a bunch of compliments,” said Daniel.

Their stage performance is unique in that the band members will switch instruments with different songs. Daniel moves between bass and the trombone. Brian plays guitar and drums. No one is at the front, the music is. There’s an aura to their music, a deep mood that moves over the listener, and that style of music is created onstage seemingly from scratch.
Nevertheless, the guys still thoroughly enjoy putting on a show and generating a good vibe among the crowd. “There’s a great feeling when people turnout,” admitted Jarrod, “It’s the best communion when you’re sharing your music with others.”
Making music, learning about music, and sharing music seem to be the main driving forces among Daniel, Brian, and Jarrod. Much like other creative outlets such as art, filmmaking, writing, and photography, their love of music and its creation comes from an internal feeling. As Jarrod explained, “Music is the only art form that truly resonates feeling from the actual experience.”

- Hilary Walker


Inspiration from stencil art and graffiti are apparent, coming off like a street psychologist painting what he sees and hears, strengthening a style that captures movement and fluidity similar to the fastidious nature of most street art. The use of black in pieces accompanying grey and white are so strong that seem to be bright colors.

Hailing from Northamptonshire, England, and moving to the U.S. in 1991 Curran studied Fine Art and Graphic Design at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Curran currently resides in Raleigh, N.C.


by Sloan Devany

“Officer, I expect one phone call AND a strip search.”

What is the sex appeal of the uniformed police officer? There I was, driving around the Port City with my friend Crystal Clear, a beautiful 39-years-of age career woman. Crystal is interested in moving from Charlotte to Wilmington for her business and for personal reasons. After all, who would not want to live in Wilmington over Charlotte? We dined at a good Cambodian restaurant on Market Street, where she was embarrassingly suggestive to the waiter, (which is another subject for this column). Later, we drove around and looked at houses she can afford. Crystal owns a Forest Hills attitude on a Dry Pond budget when it comes to houses she likes. Around 9:30 pm, we ended up on Greenfield Street, close to Greenfield Park, where there are very nice bungalows. Out of nowhere, two police vehicles showed up, their lights flashed and I was pulled over. The officer approached my window and asked for my driver’s license and registration. THANK GEE-OD I had just had my four-month-expired license card renewed two days before! “What is your business in this neighborhood sir?” He asked me. “This neighborhood is known for drug dealings and prostitution.” Well for Katherine Moore’s sake, I thought it was pretty evident the moment he walked up to my car window that I was NOT the profile john. Surely, the cameras from the COPS show were there too. I dreaded to be on TV looking guilty. Crystal meanwhile took on her Scarlet O’Hara persona. “Oh my officer, whatever is the trouble lil’ ol’ us has caused?” She wasn’t a former May Queen (1979), Tobacco Princess (1980), Homecoming Court (1982-3- and Queen 1984) and St. Mary’s Beat Peace College Queen (1985) for nothing. It’s amazing the number of women I know in the South who were former beauty contestants. They really are just like everyone else only prettier.

“Mamm,” The officer said to her. “The rear plate sticker is dirty and hard to see and that is the reason why I pulled ya’ll over, but you check out okay and can move along.”

“Why thank you kindly officer,” Crystal said, “I have always blessed the police department, rally I have.”

She waved him good-bye. I sighed with anger and relief. I was nervous and anxious to get it over with and she was flirtatious and actually seemed to want to hold the policeman longer so she could interrogate him. Okay, what was it about the policeman? Crystal said it was a lot of things. “He had a tight waste and broad shoulders. He was packen’ a gun holster belt and wearing black leather gloves, and he had bulging arms from a short sleeved UNIFORM rrr-ruff!” She had now taken on her Scarlet Dominatrix persona. The entire evening discussion from then out was consumed with what I should have done to prevent the situation and hers on how she wanted the officer’s telephone number.

So what was it? Was the policeman good-looking or was it the uniform? Whenever I put on a suit I sometimes feel the confidence it gives me and I feel more attractive. But I feel that way with a pair of ass enhancing jeans too.

I sent out an evaluation in the Wilmington metro area and asked: “Are you attracted to police officers? Attraction can be interpreted as sexual or nonsexual. What makes police officer's attractive to you? Is it the uniform, the authority, hero/heroine appeal, what? Please be as honest as you wish.” The responders were mostly college educated. They are in the age range of 29 to 55. More men responded than women. All the women said no sexual attraction. My friend Crystal is in a minority it seems, and she has some wild fantasies about police enforcement. Here are a few examples of the email replies I received;

Male, 45 years of age, lives in Murrayville, “Nope, can't say that police officers do anything for me. Now if they are really cute and buff of course I'm interested but that has nothing to do with them being police.”

Female, 55 years of age, lives in Porters Neck. “It depends. But mostly I am non-sexually attracted to policemen....maybe it's the authority thing.”

Male, 50 years of age, lives in Leland. “I am very attracted to attractive or well-built police officers (firefighters, too-yum). Overweight or unattractive officers are just as repulsive as plain clothes trolls. However, I do think that attractive (to me) officers are even more attractive because they are in uniform. I do find myself occasionally attracted to an officer which I might not be interested in without the uniform. In other words, I find attractive well-built officers very sexy and I do think the uniform increases that attraction. But, the officer must be worth the effort. The uniform is not a guarantee.”

Male, 34 years of age, lives in Bottom Neighborhood. “Hum, am I "attracted" to cops? Only if they are hot. Does the uniform add appeal? Yeah - it does. I think it’s the idea of a man who puts himself into dangerous situations. That said, the cuffs don't hurt any either. Well, hopefully they hurt a little, but not a lot. I find military men more "hot" in the general role playing type of scenario...”

Male, 41 years of age, lives near Shallotte. “I'd say it's the uniform, sexy little bitches.”

Male, 51 years of age, lives in Kings Grant. “I must admit...that's a whole new pick-up line!”

Male, 36 years of age, lives in Eastwood. “No, I can’t say that I am.”

Female, 29 years of age, lives in Ogden. “I hate PO!!!!!!!!!!! I perceive them as controlling & arrogant!!!!!! Uniforms turn me offfffffffffffffffff…. I'm sure, I blew your stats!!!!!!! Ha-ha......”

Across town, my friend Penelope Witless joined a metaphysical discussion group at Unity Christ Church. The group gathers once a week in the evening. She wants to meet people and gain spiritual growth. Chrystal seeks the Oneness. Penny also says, “I’m tired of feeling pathetically single and pushing thirty.” She hopes getting out there and learning new things will aid her to learn that it is okay to be alone and get over the overwhelming desire to get married. Yet, what should metaphallically show up and sit across from her with his beefy hairy legs... and Robber was his name. Penny told me, this Robber speaks like a Bodhisattva warrior, and even though he sounds like Thurston Howell from Gilligan’s Island, she finds it a major turn-on and what luck to meet someone she has been “saving herself” for, and translation for that means, “I haven’t met the right one yet or ANY ONE.” And he, Robber, is UNAVAILABLE. So, another opportunity to find wisdom, holy wellness and romance shot to Hades in a hand basket from petty human lust and a “WE” bomb.


Kicking and Screaming

The Criterion Collection has long been a standard of quality film transfers for home viewing and its commitment to providing behind the scenes knowledge of each film they release. Their release schedule has varied from Akira Kurosawa’s Ran to Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused.
Throughout the nineties numerous films were released about that ever desirable age group, young people, from high school to college. Whereas most films of that decade navigated between the likes of Clueless and American Pie, Noah Baumbach’s Kicking & Screaming sought to highlight the minutiae of the effects of post college graduation, that period of limbo without graduate school to keep one occupied before diving into the real world and searching for a job to pay back loans.
The film centers around four guys dealing with the inability to leave school behind. Grover can’t commit to his girlfriend Jane who takes off to Prague leaving him to troll bars and sleep with freshmen all the while unable to listen to her answering machine messages. Skippy re-enrolls to stay in the vapors of youth and young college girls. Max does next to nothing and falls for his complete opposite, a nearly seventeen year old tough Bronx girl who also works in the college cafeteria. And then there’s Otis, who steals nearly every scene he’s in, with his nebbish solitude and inability to lie or commit to reading the book for the book club he started with Chet, coolly played by Eric Stoltz. Chet is a bartender who’s become a svengali around campus, an intelligent and permanent student who offers wit and wisdom to everyone he encounters.
Baumbach, who garnered praise for last year’s Squid and the Whale, is adept at writing idiosyncratic dialogue and scenes that feel randomly connected or short skits from sketch television. One quick scene has Max placing a handmade sign that reads ‘broken glass’ on a pile rather than merely sweeping it up. Grover’s memories of Jane always begin with sepia toned images of her, dissolving one to another. Their scenes together are slightly neurotic and tense while their attraction bleeds through.
Baumbach delivers in bringing his characters to life through inventive writing and solid casting, using pop culture references not as props but as understandable banter between seemingly realistic people. Although ‘intelligent comedy’ as description is near death for viewership, this film is funny without heading for the crotch. Kicking & Screaming’s humor is derived from real life, the seemingly benign and forgettable situations people live through. The combination of wit and paralysis fuels the narrative to weave a story about young people without patronizing them.

This dvd edition includes commentary, new and old interviews and a short film by Baumbach.

- Brian Tucker



Imminent Film’s Turk Diamond, PI is an independent pilot project made for network television as a series show. It was made entirely in Wilmington and without any studio affiliation by some of Wilmington’s best local actors and crew. This is no-pay indie filmmaking.

It’s a Tuesday night and the rain has stopped. I walk thru the doors of Fat Tony’s with Jeff Babb, director of Turk Diamond and we spot lead actor, Bill Ladd. We grab a corner table discuss the pilot with Babb along with the rest of the cast and crew, Vanessa Neimeyer, Kasey Kiser, Leah Parker and Carolyne Smith.

BOOTLEG: Jeff, as the writer and director tell us about your vision and concept for Turk Diamond, PI.
JEFF: Sure, Turk started out as Jack Diamond Private Investigator and he had a calling card that was a Jack of Diamonds. We found out that there were 3,000 hits for Jack Diamond private investigator on the Internet so we changed his name to Turk. I had been chewing on this idea for a couple years then this opportunity came up. I wrote two episodes and we shot them simultaneously. We’ve just wrapped principle photography but have additional dialogue recording left to do. It’s shot in the style of a film noir detective show. All the main characters are living in the 1940’s - dressed in period costumes, but its all taking place in modern day with Wilmington locations.
BOOTLEG: I know this is your directorial debut; can you lend any advice to other first time directors?
JEFF: You can’t do it all. Get good people around you and let them do their jobs. Having a good script supervisor and a good director of photography is paramount.
BOOTLEG: Bill tell us about Turk, how you got the role and a little about yourself.
BILL: Well there’s a lot of things to say but it was such a happenstance kind of thing that I was even considered for the role. I think they were scouting locations when Duke Fire, Martha Poole, Jeff and Kasey came into Bella Festa. Billy Mellon (owner) and a friend started singing my praises and he called me to come in. They decided to give me a reading for the next day. I wore one of my vintage suits and I am a big fan of film noir. I was so excited, I remember thinking I really hope I get this. I read a lot of hard-boiled detective novels so I already had a solid feeling for the role. I think another reason I got the part was that I talked to Martha and told her that I had a closet full of vintage clothes. Her eyes just lit up, so I’m thinking she leaned over to Jeff and said “hire him.” BOOTLEG: Carolyne, your role as Miss Kelly the femme fatale had to be a blast.
CAROLYNE: Yes, I really enjoyed being Miss Kelly and I think we all have a little bit of her in us, where we’ve done things in our life that we’re trying to make right and rectify. We all use different strategies to come clean of things we’ve done. She was just a really fun character, especially, when you can’t tell if she is genuine or not.
BOOTLEG: Vanessa, talk about the evolution of this of show.
VANESSA: It all started over at Martha’s house with Jeff Babb, Martha Poole, Kasey Kiser, Laura Hessler, and myself. We thought together we could probably put together a pretty good production. We took a vote and decided to do a detective show and it turned out to be Turk Diamond.
BOOTLEG: Production can be a lot of work without the glory.
VANESSA: As far as this role goes, under this title it’s been my first time since I haven’t been around film since 2002. Usually I’m with the art department doing set dressing and internships. I also thought I would always be in the art world but I was put in a position where I had to get things done so I just ran with it. Then I found out that I do enjoy the producing side of movies even though I never thought I would end up in this kind of position. Right now I’m a senior at UNCW but will be working on a movie with Erica Dunton called Three Words and a Star as her personal assistant.
BOOTLEG: Kasey, as cinematographer of this movie you were using an HD video camera. KASEY: We used a JVC HD 100 U camera and chose it because of the look we wanted to achieve on screen and it’s one of the more affordable HDV’s around. It was easy to use, light weight and had a lot of features. At this stage we can’t afford film but with HD video effects it can almost equal a film look. Jeff and I will be doing the editing with Final Cut Pro 5.1 HD on a G5 and we have Julio Barriga to do the CGI.

You can find them at www.myspace.com/turkdiamond


by Sloan Devany

Me and you and a dog named Muffin

I was reading about the new Wilmington dog park in Empie Park, which has two acres for dogs to roam and play freely. The park opening reminded me of my friend River DeNile. He and his girlfriend, Cleo Jones, have been seeing one another about a year and a half. They spend some weekends together, jog together, watch movies and attempt doing most all other happy couple “we” activities. One big problem River has is Cleo’s dog. “The damn dawg,” named Muffin, is a lumbering pony size part Doberman part llama big dog.
He slobbers, he pants loudly, he drags dog food all over the condo, and he has destroyed her place from top to bottom. No door frame is chew free. Muffin’s nail marks are in the bottom of the porcelain bathtub. He was at my house and rolled as hard as he could on my best Persian rug. I still breathe into a paper bag at the thought. Muffin has vacuum resistant hair. The hair will not come off the furniture. His hair sticks to everything and it has a life of its own. I like pets, don’t get me wrong, heck, I treat all of my house bugs with the utmost respect before squishing them. I never understand the dependency for pets. Muffin has never met an enemy so he offers no real protection. He can be bribed with a cookie. Muffin accepts affection from anyone willing or unwilling. He charges at strange people at full speed. I see the horror on the people’s faces at this monster dog bearing down on them. I still hear their screams of terror as he goes right for their faces to lick them and transfer dog germs.
Like a lot of dog owners, Cleo is oblivious to other people’s dis-love of Muffin and she refuses to leash him or “pick up” after him. Some sort of warped philosophy about the leash stunting his natural curiosity and the “pick up” is fertilizer and dog’s mouths are cleaner than humans.
“Oh, he loves people and won’t bite,” she nonchalantly offers the victims crying for help. The cost of dog food alone is putting Cleo into the poor house. Naturally, Muffin can only eat expensive prescription dog chow. He has a skin condition. He has dog arthritis. He has bad breath. He has every known canine ailment known to veterinarian science and Cleo has a Monday through Sunday pill box for Muffin. Getting Muffin to take the pills is an ordeal. She must disguise the pills in peanut butter or cream cheese. I saw Muffin eat the cheese and spit out the pill. Who can blame the poor boy, those pills look repulsive.
Of course, Muffin suffers from severe separation anxiety. He cannot be left alone and when Cleo is nearby he whines and wants to be next to her except when they are out walking in public for instance. When left alone or unwatched, Muffin goes running amuck and crosses busy intersections. He is fearless of oncoming traffic. Why should he be? Muffin sees gas guzzling SUVs as chew toys.

Another time, River and Cleo showed up at my house with Muffin. Muffin took off after a neighborhood feline and galloped into a neighbor’s backyard and over a six foot high electrified chain link fence. According to neighborhood gossip, which is always correct, this neighbor once lived in a survivalist community and brags about her tiger traps. I thought that would be the end of Muffin but even a ten foot deep pit with spikes couldn’t contain him.
River puts up with Muffin because he wants more with Cleo. He wants a deeper relationship but the damn dawg always creates a crisis that delays the idea. Muffin causes too much strain on the relationship. Cleo and River were hanging out in River’s backyard and just as they were getting affectionate, Muffin fell off the deck steps. The entire afternoon was blown with rushing Muffin to the animal ER. He was sent home with a busted hip and wrapped like something from the Mummy’s Tomb. A neck cone was enforced to keep Muffin from scratching at his injury. I couldn’t resist tossing him a ball into the cone. This accident sent Cleo into a 24/7 hour nursing schedule. Would she give River the same attention if he was in an accident?
Muffin slowly recovered and is out there leaping through screened-in porches. His hip injury suspiciously only flares up when River is there to take Cleo out on a date. She then cancels with River to stay with Muffin and that begins a fight about Cleo using Muffin as an excuse AGAIN. So, is River willing to stay in this funny place of waiting for the next Muffin incident of a relationship? Is Cleo willing to compromise? The answer is no. As sad as it is, River should end it with Cleo because it is painfully obvious to anyone else that the problem isn’t just the confused whimpering destructive attention distracting dog. Cleo has no romantic longevity interest for River. She believes ‘Love me but I love my dog first’ and that leaves no room for River DeNile.


By William Cofflin

The train entered its final turn just as the big rig jolted to a stop two hundred feet up the track. The last thing the conductor saw was the face of the truck driver, eyes locked wide open in surprise, as he tried in vain to get the eighteen-wheeler started.
Stan was bent over the pot of chili hanging in the stone fireplace when he heard the crash. He straightened, the spoon he’d been stirring the chili with dripping big chunks on the floor, and stood listening to the echoes of tons of steel being twisted violently into scrap metal by high-speed impact. The man-made thunder rumbled through the surrounding mountains like the portent of a coming storm.
Stan reached out and absently placed the spoon in the pot. He was staring toward the closed and locked door of the one-room cabin, and listened as the thunder trailed off. He’d been listening to the distant, rhythmic chugging of the engine as the train had wound its way through the valley below, and the memories of train rides he’d taken as a child had brought a wistful smile to his face. He’d heard the comforting sound of the train drawing nearer in the night. It was interrupted by the desperate scream of the train’s whistle, the sudden impact.
Oh, my god…
He blinked, his mind kicking slowly into gear, and reached for the flashlight standing upright on the mantel above the stone fireplace. He checked the batteries by thumbing it on and then turning it off, and then thrust it through his belt. He started for the door, stopped, and looked at the large trunk at the foot of his bed. It might be a good idea to take one of the three first-aid kits he had with him…
He went to the trunk and, squatting, threw back the lid. The medical kit lay on top of his neatly folded summer wear. He picked it up- and stopped, staring for several long moments at what lay exposed. He’d bought the snub-nosed Smith and Wesson to protect his family. He picked it up, still holstered, and clipped it to his belt on his right hip. His jacket, which was on the front seat of his truck, would cover it. He didn’t bother to check the weapon: he always kept it loaded. Irony gave him pause: he’d come to the mountains to get away from The Big City and its never-ending violence, yet here he was, going for his gun at the first hint of trouble.
He’d grown so accustomed to the light from the fire inside the cabin that the sudden darkness awaiting him outside truly startled him. He took the flashlight from his belt and flicked it on. He’d spent the past six months rigging up lights (inside and outside the cabin) and generators, but he had yet to use them: whenever possible, he chose to conserve his resources. He was only three days into a two-month vacation, and he was doing his best not to fuck up the environment any more than was absolutely necessary.
He stood in the open doorway, flashlight extended before him, his eyes narrowed to slits searching the dark. The yellow oval of light moved over the weed-choked hillside, the closely clustered stands of trees, and reflected finally off of the taillights of his jet black SUV, parked twenty feet from the cabin. Reaching back without looking, he pulled the door shut behind him. He’d gone to great lengths to “bear-proof” the cabin; it wouldn’t make much sense to run off and leave the front door wide open. He considered locking the door, but thought that he might need to get back in a hurry.
He started toward the SUV. Something on his left caught his eye and he stopped to look. There was a cloud rising slowly from the valley below. It seemed to hang unmoving above the treetops, yellow-green in the light of the full moon. He stared at it for several seconds. This wasn’t smoke from a fire. In fact, it looked to him like gas.
Whatever it was, it was not dispersing: it remained stationary despite the breeze.

He sat gripping the steering wheel with both hands, staring through the windshield.
The headlights of the SUV revealed the large, dark rectangles that had toppled from the tracks. There were no lights on inside any of the cars, and nothing moved. Here and there, small fires burned. Smoke mixed with gas hissing into the air from an overturned tanker. He could see a yellow skull and crossbones painted on the side of the tanker.
Great, he thought: Another toxic spill. Just what we need…
He opened the driver’s door and stepped out into the road. Almost absently, he reached in and picked up the first aid kit from the passenger seat. As he straightened to shut the door, he saw another fire, further up the tracks. It was hard to see, but it looked to him like the engine had T-boned a truck that had apparently stalled on the tracks. The truck was alight. If there was anyone inside, they were dead.
Stan swallowed. His ex had suggested that he bring a cell phone with him “just in case,” but he’d been dead-set against it: a vacation meant no phones and no interruptions of any kind. He sighed, resigned to making do without a phone, and slammed the driver’s door. He walked around to stand illuminated in the headlights and peered close at the nearest boxcar. He could sense little; only the sound was escaping gas.
He would have to get closer.
He took several uncertain steps, the first aid kit feeling ridiculously inadequate in his hands, and stopped, genuinely afraid to go nearer. There was no telling what he might find, and his gag threshold was much too low to risk stumbling across dead bodies mangled in the crash. He licked his lips, stalling for time. Fumbling, he took the flashlight from his belt and turned it on.
“Any… Anybody there…?” he called out. He waved the flashlight aimlessly. The wreckage stretched a quarter of a mile down the tracks. The light was lost in the darkness.
He felt like a fool. Go and see, you gutless son of a bitch. He almost nodded at the thought, took another hesitant step. Was this a passenger train? He had no idea. Maybe the only casualties were the two drivers. He looked toward where the truck lay transfixed by the train’s engine. The truck’s ruptured fuel tanks had gone up on impact, and the fire had quickly burned itself out. Dark smoke, barely visible, drifted upward.
Stan swallowed again and took another step, cleared his throat. “Uh, anybody?”
He heard the tinkle of breaking glass, turned toward the sound. It had come from the boxcar on his left- not more than fifty feet away. He stared, trying to discern motion of any sort, but could still make out nothing. But he had heard something. He was sure of it. He took a step toward the boxcar; stopped; tilted his head to one side, listening. There was nothing- nothing but the hiss of yellow-green gas leaking from the tanker.
He looked at the tanker again, at the yellow skull and crossbones, and felt unease tighten his guts. Whatever the gas was (and it was clearly dangerous), it was running low: the hiss of its release was much lower, now, and slower, which indicated less pressure from within. He placed one arm across his face to prevent himself from inhaling any of the gas and walked toward the wreckage.
Something moved, on his right, and he stopped and swung the flashlight toward it.
His uplifted arm slowly lowered of its own volition. He could only stare.
The man stood, arms dangling at his sides, his chin down, staring at Stan. His face in the meager light looked sickly yellow. His hair was wet with… Stan felt his skin crawl. The man’s scalp had been split open and his hair was saturated with blood. Even as he watched, Stan could see blood trickling slowly down the man’s forehead to drip unnoticed from his brow. The drops spattered the front of the man’s white shirt, soaking the material.
Stan lifted the first aid kit. “I’ve got a medical kit,” he offered weakly. He almost shrugged. He’d never had to deal with anything even remotely like this before in his life, having no idea what he was supposed to do. He took several faltering steps forward, but stopped noticing the man was glaring at him. He put the light on the man’s face, just to be sure that he was seeing what he thought he was seeing, and felt his legs go weak in the knees.
Lips pulled back to reveal teeth, the man was snarling. Stan could hear him, now. The growl was coming from deep down inside, from the pit of the man’s stomach; like the growl of an angry dog.
Stan swallowed and took a backward step without realizing it, holding out the first aid kit as if it might keep the man at bay, like a talisman, but he didn’t know why. He lowered the light and froze, staring wide-eyed and open-mouthed, when he saw the length of metal that jutted from the man’s abdomen. The man’s stomach and both legs were soaked with blood.
Oh, my god, Stan thought: He must be in shock…
He looked up when the man took a step toward him. He must want the first aid kit… Stan extended the kit without thinking. “Here,” he heard himself say- and then he caught himself and walked swiftly toward the man. “It’s okay, I’ve got a first aid kit,” he told the man again: “Don’t try to walk-”
He then saw the woman step from the wreckage to his left and stopped to regard her. Her lower jaw was dislocated, and hung at an awkward angle. Blood dripped from her mouth. Her left eye was swollen shut and already beginning to blacken. Her right eye was fixed, unwavering, on Stan.
“Jesus,” he blurted. He almost apologized before he realized that there was something very wrong with the woman. She stepped from the wreckage with purpose, moving toward him, and now she was reaching for him, her pale arms coming up and her fingers curling and unfurling expectantly.
He watched her advance, and something about her approach rattled him. It just wasn’t natural. The steps were awkward, as if she were stepping in postholes, and her head seemed to wobble unnaturally. He stared at where her neck bent at an unnatural angle; surly it must be broken…
He opened his mouth to say something, to tell her that he was there to help, but the words weren’t there. She drew nearer. He found himself backing away, giving ground.
Stan looked around at the man. He was much closer, now, and he, too, was reaching out with both hands. Stan began backing toward his truck, careful to keep both of them in front of him. He felt instinctively that to turn his back would be a fatal mistake.
The woman was making moist, wet sounds. Stan looked at her. Her mouth began to masticate the air in a sickening fashion, as though she were chewing. The hunger in her actions was clear, as was her desire for him… His skin crawled. He could hear the broken bones in her jaw grinding against one another.
A footstep, close. Stan started to turn.
The man lunged, with the suddenness of a striking snake, and Stan jerked back, arms coming up to protect himself. He dropped the first aid kit. The man’s cold hands clamped down on his wrist and forearm and the pale face darted forward, mouth open eagerly, teeth bared. Stan staggered back. The man stumbled, off balance, and went to his knees.
Stan drove his knee up under the man’s chin. The man’s head snapped back and he fell to one side. Without hesitation, he began to push himself back up, looking over his shoulder at Stan, his prey. Stan was still backing away, the flashlight out before him, the ball of light on the man’s face.
It was the feral look on the man’s face, the hungry desire in his eyes, that made Stan understand at once what was happening.
They wanted to eat him!
He looked to the woman, who was near enough to try for him. Her claws raked his arm. He pulled back, his free hand fumbling at his hip for the holster clip. He felt it pop free. The woman’s head jounced ludicrously atop her neck; it looked like it might fall off at any moment. Her one good eye was locked onto him.
It was too much for him; too much, too soon.
His fingers closed around the butt of the gun and he drove the barrel under the woman’s chin. He registered the dead look in her one remaining eye. His finger tightened on the trigger. The fanged hammer fell.
The top of her head exploded outward in a shower of blood, bone and brains.
She stiffened and stood for a moment staring upward before suddenly dropping her arms. Her eye rolled back in its socket. She toppled slowly, like a felled tree. Her head struck the blacktop with a solid thunk. She lay unmoving.
Stan stared down at her in abject horror. Oh, my god- what have I done? He felt sick; his knees went limp and he thought he might faint. Blood so dark it looked black was slowly pooling beneath her head. Stan took an unsteady step toward her, his mouth hanging open in surprise, and his weapon dangled forgotten at his side.
Footsteps brought his head up.
They were coming for him, all of them; the men and the women, the children; all of them- everyone who had died in the train wreck. They were moving slowly, awkwardly, their dead eyes fixed firmly on him.
He backed toward his truck, the gun coming up to warn them back.
“Back off,” he snarled: “Back the fuck off…”
Behind him, he heard a growl. He spun to see another man trying to get into the SUV. The man was tugging at the door handle, unable to figure out how to get it to open. He whimpered in frustration and began to rock the vehicle. Stan ran to him. The man saw him coming and stopped, reached out as if to embrace him. Stan jammed the barrel of the gun to the man’s head and pulled the trigger.
The force of the shot snapped the man’s head back. Gore splattered the side of the truck. The man stumbled back, arms out to catch himself, and slammed into the SUV. He stared at Stan in mute horror as he slid slowly to a sitting position. The man’s eyes closed as his head dropped forward.
Stan stuck the flashlight through his belt and jerked open the door, threw himself in, slammed and locked the door behind him. He jammed the gun between his legs, staring out at the slowly advancing horde as he fumbled nervously with the ignition. They were moving too slowly to catch him before he could get away. The thought should’ve relieved him, but he knew that he could only get away if he could stop his hands from trembling long enough to get the engine going.
He paused, took a slow, deep breath, and calmly grasped and turned the ignition key. The car started. He smiled thankfully and put it in gear. The wheels screamed in protest as the vehicle spun in a tight U-turn and started back up the mountain. In the rearview mirror, he could see them dwindling away.
Whoever (or whatever) they were, they weren’t going to get him. His brief encounter had taught him one thing if nothing more: that he had the instinct to survive.


Vampire lore gets a new twist in a series of southern gothic tales set in present day - a hybrid of horror, romance, mystery and humor. The novels are gentle in tone but are clearly intent on offering a fresh take on a well traveled genre.
For the last few years Charlaine Harris has written the Southern Vampire series. Dead Until Dark is the first novel. Each novel in the series concerns Sookie Stackhouse, a cocktail waitress in rural Bon Temps, Louisiana, who has a unique gift, telepathy. She struggles to block out everyone’s thoughts. Not only is it a strain at work, it does little to help her love life.
Unique to the novels is the existence of vampires in our society. Vampires are a new minority since the creation of synthetic blood and they need not hide anymore, since previously having to feed on the general public. Vampires have legal status and are allowed to coexist. However, this doesn’t mean that everyone is in agreement. There are no vampires in Bon Temps until Bill comes to town after inheriting a home. Yes, Bill the vampire, who has been one since the Civil War. Sookie saves him one night from thugs after he leaves the bar she works at. Bill’s sudden appearance in small town Bon Temps also coincides with the recent murders of several young women.
Sookie and Bill begin a relationship that, to say the least, is complicated since Sookie has allied herself with an inhuman species. Young women are killed around town. Coworkers point to Bill. An underground clique of vampires still drinks human blood, from vampire groupies and Goth types, and still serves as a threat to human beings. Sookie and Bill attempt to learn who is killing the young women in order to protect Bill.
Let’s be clear: this is not Anne Rice. It’s more fun than poetic. Imagine if James Lee Burke had decided to write a vampire murder mystery. It is a twist on the predictable vampire tale and Harris has created her own mythology for the vampires. They are a deviation of humans; they are not victims of a virus. Humor is also a continuing element in each story. When Sookie introduces vampire Bill to her grandmother she suggests that he speak to her Civil War group since he was an actual participant.
Harris, a native of the Mississippi Delta and has been writing for over twenty years and is adept at creating local color and realistic characters. In writing the series she wondered who would be likely to spend time with a vampire. She settled on Sookie, an outcast. It didn’t take long to write the novel and at first Dead Until Dark was a tough sell to publishers. Harris had faith in the story and two years later the book finally sold. There are two other titles in the series and more are expected to follow. The fourth novel, Dead to the World, was recently released in hardcover.

- Brian Tucker


Flags of Our Fathers

Many films take to task the after effects of war. Flags of Our Fathers, based on the novel by James Bradley and Ron Powers, focuses on two areas; the battle at Iwo Jima and the battle at home.
Three of the men who raised the flag at Iwo Jima, in what became a poignant and symbolic photo during World War II, are sent home from the front lines to lead a war bonds tour raising money at a point when the government has run out of cash. Their return home is a battle with their conscience, struggling with being salesmen and the fact that they are home while fellow soldiers remain in combat. One, Indian Ira Hayes, struggles the hardest, never wanting to be on the tour and dealing with brutal memories of war which fuels his alcoholism.
Flags of Our Fathers hits all the high notes of the book, the battles, the hypocrisy and insensitivity of a public relations machine, those seeking advantage of the soldiers and the camaraderie of those who fought.
Where the film falters is its use of flashback and narration. Author Bradley knew of his father’s role in raising the flag but little else. While rummaging through his father’s things he came across much more and began interviewing those he knew, which becomes part of the film. Throughout Flags we see Bradley’s son interviewing different soldiers. It is this flaw of telling and not showing that hurts the truth behind the film. The story isn’t told chronologically and when cutting back and forth between these flashbacks the story loses steam in addition to emotional impact. It would been more powerful for the narrative to have ran from boot camp training to the bloody battlefront and subsequently the war bonds tour, to see these men age emotionally and physically.
However Flags is a solid film, a visual history lesson of not only the military but our government, who for better or worse, uses its military to protect America’s interests and to remind them that those interests come at a price. There are scenes of brutal realism, soldiers dying reminiscent of Saving Private Ryan. The battle scenes are uneven and cursory at best, seemingly random coverage of a large battle. The film is shot in muted colors as if one were looking at aged photographs and postcards. Flags doesn’t seek to take advantage of the current war to serve its story or to make statements, respectively leaving that for the viewer to decide.

- Brian Tucker

The Prestige

In Carter Beats the Devil author Glenn David Gold wrote that ‘the secret protects the audience, not the magician.’ That statement holds just as true for dueling magicians, Borden (Christian Bale) and Angier (Hugh Jackman) in The Prestige, a wonderful turn of the century mystery involving illusionists, science, murder, revenge and frequent twists.
As young students working for a popular magician, Borden accidentally kills Angier’s wife in a trick involving a water tank she’s dropped in, hands bound in rope. Angier blames Borden and thus sets off a life of competition, revenge and ultimately Borden in prison for Angier’s murder.
Whereas Angier is more of a showman and lacking originality in his tricks, Borden is the opposite, more creative than flashy – but incredibly talented. Their rivalry reaches its peak with a trick called The Transported Man, in which the magician disappears through a door and reappears across the stage through another door. Angier grows increasingly jealous of Borden’s success, and of his new wife and child.
He sets out to shamelessly copy Borden. To trump him, Angier spends great sums of money on an invention by Nikola Tesla to take The Transported Man trick to a new level. It works, but with a price.
The Prestige is a magic trick itself. Several plot twists are illusions themselves, some of which are easily spotted, some not. But that’s the fun of the film and its story. Set in Victorian England, the film highlights the fact that while audiences know that there’s really no magic they enjoy wondering how it the illusions were done, being fooled. In a scene where Borden shows his wife how a trick is done she’s disappointed with knowing. It’s not knowing that makes the illusion special as implied in Gold’s book.
The Prestige is the final portion of an illusion, in which everything is restored to normal (for example, when a dove made to disappear finally returns). Director Christopher Nolan and his co-writer brother structure the film with scenes that serve as misdirection, jumping back and forth in time, only revealing so much. There are twists and turns, some will easily stand out, but it is still an entertainingly good ride, reminiscent of when films were rich on story and short on special effects.

- Brian Tucker