Cultural Engagement and the Bizarro Movement

June 1, 2013 at 9:08 pm (Uncategorized)

I’d forgotten about this! Something I wrote for Bizarro Central a couple years back, now shared here on the home blog.

Bizarro Central

by Michael A Rose

I remember the first time I held a person in contempt.

It was a friend of mine, actually. We’d grown up together as neighbors, played in the dirt, graduated to video games and bike rides, and had remained friends until our adolescence began to reveal our differences. I was turning into someone who listened to music, read books, found weird events enticing and was constantly craving new things. He was turning into someone who would grow up to come home, turn on the TV, and not really care what channel it landed on. More importantly, he would think whatever was on was original and fresh enough, even though he would never use that word to describe it.

This upset me. I wasn’t trying to be pretentious, or dictate that he be interested in my music, my authors, my art; it wasn’t that he wasn’t interested in…

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February 27, 2012 at 8:59 am (Uncategorized)


Some folks dabble in multiple areas of interest. The risk, of course, is spreading oneself too thin. But that’s not a problem for Michael Allen Rose, author, actor, and musician. I had a chance to converse with him recently about his many artistic endeavors and past successes, including the recent publication of his first book, Party Wolves in my Skull.

1. First and foremost, can you tell us a little about your book?

Of course! Party Wolves in My Skull is about Norman Spooter, who awakens one morning to find that his eyeballs have fallen in love and are leaving him. They tear themselves out of his skull, steal his car, and take off for parts unknown. He doesn’t know what to do, so he does what most of us would – he goes back to bed, hoping it’ll all resolve itself. Unfortunately, a pack of wolves moves in overnight…

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Review: Haunt by Laura Lee Bahr

December 27, 2011 at 3:08 pm (Bizarro, Review, Uncategorized, Writing)

I have a thing for experimental forms. From Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves to Salvador Plascencia’s The People of Paper, nothing gets me more excited about a book than when I see strangely placed columns, random font changes and blacked out sections that contribute to the overall thematic power and weirdness of a literary work. I like to think my love of meta-fiction and the trappings thereof were fostered in my youth with the Choose Your Own Adventure Series. Those books allowed the reader to choose directions and actions at certain points of action within the narrative, which led the protagonist (ostensibly, the reader) toward either victory, or (much more frequently) their untimely demise.

In her debut novel Haunt, author Laura Lee Bahr explores the form of Choose Your Own Adventures but like Samuel Beckett cutting sound or lighting or actors from his plays, Bahr subverts the form by removing the element of choice. What do you do, as the hero of the story, when those vital choices are wrenched away from you and you’re forced to live each of the possibilities in a schizophrenic pastiche of probability?

There are three characters of note in Haunt, all of whom are given plenty of time to shine. Simon is the dashing (sometimes) insane (sometimes) journalist who may or may not be involved in the mysterious death of me (Sarah) the ghost haunting your (Richard’s) apartment. There’s also a couch (which is yours, but did you bring it inside? Or did you leave out in the cold? Or did you do both? Or neither?) What’s under the cushions? Who is that singing? And what happened to Sarah to make her dead? This is a rare novel that brings up far more questions than it answers, but Bahr uses tricky plotting and exciting prose style to pull you along through the mystery without question. Haunt is not a book you’re allowed to read at your own speed. It controls the action, it controls the urgency, and it controls your mind. I loved the experience of paranoia creeping in as I read this late at night (culminating in a chapter that consists of only one single line, which I will not do you the disservice of ruining here. Suffice it to say, you’ll know it when you come to it).

Haunt is sexy and playful while still fitting nicely into the land of the supernatural campfire tale. It’s evident that Bahr has a strong background in film and theatre from reading her prose, as the dialogue is tight and the character studies are extremely well drawn. The best part about that is that once these characters have been established, Bahr pulls the rug out from under the reader and traps us inside a puzzle without a solution. I believe that everyone who reads this will come away with slightly different ideas about what really happened in that apartment, and whether they did the right thing (even though they may or may not have been able to change anything at all). A strong debut and a great, fun, eerie read by a fantastic young author. Highly recommended!

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Check out my flow!

October 14, 2005 at 8:44 pm (Uncategorized)

After a seemingly endless period of a dry wellspring, my writing has suddenly become vital again… this is a good thing, nay, a GREAT thing. I finished a one-act in the last couple of days called “Acting Well” (working title) and suddenly I’m finding myself engaged very seriously in the writing of two full length plays, “Copernicus Rising” and “Carnival of Darkness,” both of which are departures from my usual style, I think. I love this… the ideas are flowing freely, and I’m finding TIME to WRITE! Oh, the bliss!

It feels so good to write again, and to ENJOY that writing. It’s a muscle I missed flexing for some time. New plays are fun.

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October 1, 2005 at 12:53 pm (Uncategorized)

You are a
Social Liberal
(75% permissive)

and an…
Economic Liberal
(20% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

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My work in a Chicago Theatre? You don’t say!

May 24, 2005 at 10:22 am (Uncategorized)

Wow, what a weekend.

I spent this past weekend up in Chicago, which was a lot of fun in itself, but what really made the weekend was my reason for being there in the first place. I travelled up to the Windy City with five other playwrights from SIU as part of an event set up by Dr. David Rush where the prestigious and innovative Chicago Dramatists theatre staged pieces of our plays!

They did a 10 minute scene from my newest play Harold and Janice Face the End of the Universe. This is going to be the play we have a staged reading of down here at SIU later this summer, so it was fun to workshop it a bit in advance, especially in one of the biggest theatre cities in the world. How many people are lucky enough to go to Chicago for the first time ever in order to see their work on stage for an audience? I am totally counting my blessings here!

They brought in professional equity actors and directors to work on our pieces, which was also incredible. Just to see these people who are living that dream in a professional capacity bring life to my play was absolutely inspiring. It made me feel like perhaps I could make it out in the real world doing creative things.

The idea that I wasn’t there as a friend of the actors and director, but as a professional playwright with a script to work on just floored me. And everyone at Chicago Dramatists was so supportive of the work we brought them… it felt really good… validating. Between my music, writing, acting, whatever else I decide to do… it’s always reassuring to have people appreciate what I’m trying to do. I’m my own worst critic, and to have people enjoy my work is so… wonderful.

In many ways, I finally really feel like I’m making that transition to adulthood… beginning my professional career, I guess… I know there’s a long way to go, but this kind of encouragement helps sustain me on the journey there… awesome weekend. THANK YOU to everyone who supports artists out there in the world, that’s SO incredibly important I can’t put my gratitude into words…

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Fuming about the Postal Service

April 20, 2005 at 6:10 pm (Uncategorized)

So I recently ordered a book and two CDs from, something I have done many times over throughout my life as an internet user. I love Amazon’s selection and prices, so I often use it as an alternative to shopping locally. This order, however, turned out to have a rather depressing result.

According to the tracking number given to the package by Amazon and maintained by the US Postal Service, this package was delivered on April 19th at 12:55 PM. I found this fact rather odd, since I did not find a package when I got home yesterday in the office (where UPS and FedEX drop off our packages for us) nor was there a card in my mailbox stating that I needed to go pick up the package at the post office.

I began to expect the worst, so I called the USPS. After spending a load of time surfing around their phone lines, and getting no help, I finally found a person to take a report for me. Sadly, only a bit later I also ended up filing a police report. When I walked downstairs, on a hunch, I checked the dumpster next to my apt. building, and lo and behold, there was my package, cut open by some awful person.

The carrier had left the package in the HALL, which is a COMPLETELY UNSECURED area and checked the package off as “delivery confirmed.” How that is within the realm of logic, I do not know, however I DO know that my CDs were stolen by some jerk and I never even got to see them. They left me the book at least. I guess they aren’t into wrestling.

The post office is giving me the run around, of course, saying that the carrier made the descision but not actually reimbursing me for the loss of something that was in no way my fault. This is a rather depressing situation. I contacted the local record stores in case someone tried to fence them, but I doubt it will pay off. They’re both new albums (Beck – Guero and Mindless Self Indulgence – You’ll Rebel to Anything) so I’m sure they’ll be easy to get rid of. I am sad.

I did write Amazon, since I have been told by a number of people today how customer-oriented Amazon is. I thought it wouldn’t hurt. Next time, I’m getting my merchandise FedEx. At least they make me sign for it rather than leaving it in a public hallway in the middle of the day!


(end of controlled, but still pissed off rant)

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The magic music playlist blog thing.

April 9, 2005 at 2:00 am (Uncategorized)

Stole this from a friend’s blog. Load up your MP3 player, hit random, and write down the first 20 songs that show up. Tells people about you, or something, I guess. It was kind of fun to keep track though.

1. Lords of Acid – Get Up, Get High
2. The Residents – Harry the Head
3. Marilyn Manson – The Dope Show
4. Korn – Falling Away From Me
5. Warrant – Uncle Tom’s Cabin
6. Killing Joke – Whiteout
7. Bauhaus – Bella Lugosi’s Dead
8. OhGr – Majik
9. Mad Capsule Markets – Gaga Life
10. Cop Shoot Cop – Cut to the Chase
11. Ministry – Broken
12. Tool – Parabol
13. Psychopomps – Timebomb
14. KMFDM – A Hole in the Wall
15. Suicide Machines – Green
16. System of a Down – Innervision
17. 16 Volt – Suffering You
18. Type O Negative – Creepy Green Light
19. Ashtrayhead – Handyman
20. Flogging Molly – Within a Mile of Home

Technically, one of my own songs came up at number 19, but I felt weird about that, so this list is slightly damaged for fear of seeming like a pompous self-indulgent freak, since I skipped ahead. Fun idea though… not sure what this list says about me. I guess that’s up to you people to interpret.

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April 3, 2005 at 5:04 pm (Uncategorized)

Wow… sometimes the little things make all the difference in the world. I bought some new speakers for my computer, only because I found a good deal on them, and I set them up today.

Suddenly my little PC is humming with 5.1 surround sound 100 watt speakers plus subwoofer, and I thought I wasn’t missing any sound! I have had to turn it down several times already just so I don’t piss off the neighbors, but I want so badly to crank it up… it’s amazing and it’s only at about 30-40% volume and bass control. Cripes.

This is one of many reasons I need to get a house, so I can record and blast music as loud as I want to.

I hung out with some friends at a punkhouse the other night… very cool… stereo roaring 90’s rock and daiquris with punk girls is the way to make my night. Another reason I need a house: so I can have people over and rock out like that. Pure unadulterated fun.

I think I needed a wee break from responsibility, since this month is kind of the pinnacle of that, with everything coming due at once. Ah well, summer comes soon… (armors self for last 6 weeks of school).

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Ninjas vs. Pirates

March 16, 2005 at 11:25 am (Uncategorized)


Misconceptions about ninjas:

Ninjas do NOT wear spandex.
A Samurai is NOT a ninja.
Dragon Ball Z characters
are NOT ninjas.
If you see a ninja, he is
NOT a ninja.

Misconceptions about pirates:

A Pirate is NOT a rat
that eats pies.
Pirates do NOT have
special powers beyond normal humans.
Pirates do NOT know
how to breakdance.

Pirates do NOT have
a curse



Ruthless and brutal Lack any personality
Wear eye patches Wear headbands
Fight with swords Fight skillfully
with any object
Represented by
a skull and bones
Can remove a spleen
in one swift motion
Obnoxious and
stink horribly
Live in your house
secretly for days
Have large shadows
from being fat
Can remove their shadow
if needed
Launch cannonballs Hurl shurikens
Ride in big wooden
Go anywhere they want
Put daggers in their
Catch bullets
in their teeth
Say "Arrrrrrrrrrgghh" Kill themselves if
they make a noise
Limp with pegged
Can run 100 miles
on their hands
Taught by
other pirates
Train 20 hours/day
starting from age 2
Have names like Schmee Have cool words like
Can be smelled before
Are masters of disguise
Use rowboats Can hover for hours
Drink all day
Flip out and kill
Rely on other
crew members
Are completely self-sufficient.
Make traitors walk
a wooden plank
Split planks vertically
with their nose
Don’t bother hiding,
Can hide in incense
Kill people with
black powder guns
Kill people.

So, as you can plainly see, although both sides have many good
points, ninjas are clearly the ultimate fighting machines and would win in any
battle (fair, or unfair.) Sure, pirates have comedy value, but ninjas have free
"service" from geisha girls, which is worth twice as much as comedy on
the free-market. This opinion courtesy of Michael A. Rose, content for argument
used from (thanks!)

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