PAPERBOY: ‘Dawn Of The Darkness Twins’ Edition

paperboyartthumbnail.jpgBY DAVE ALLEN Like time, news waits for no man. Keeping up with the funny papers has always been an all-day job, even in the pre-Internets era. These days, however, it’s a two-man job. That’s right, these days you need someone to do your reading for you, or risk falling hopelessly behind and, as a result, increasing your chances of dying lonely and somewhat bitter. That’s why every week, PAPERBOY does your alt-weekly reading for you. We pore over those time-consuming cover stories and give you the takeaway, suss out the cover art, warn you off the ink-wasters and steer you towards the gooey center. Why? Because we love you!

ON THE COVER

CP: What a weird, compelling, and great start to Shaun Brady’s cover on the Quay brothers. It delays what’s probably most important about the movie-making, London-based twins — they’re originally from Norristown and attended UArts — but why complain when the description of their work is so well-honed and evocative?

Between the walls. cp_2009_02_26.jpg

Beneath the earth.

Behind the eyes.

These are the shadowy, hidden places where the Brothers Quay dwell, spaces populated by the arcane and discarded, inanimate things given life by the act of being forgotten.

Inexplicable, obsessive and vaguely ominous happenings are the norm: A harlequin on a tricycle is sadistically bent on capturing a strangely beautiful winged creature in elaborate and brutal traps. Disembodied hands quiver over vibrating strings while an intricately configured device goes through laborious but unexplainable machinations. A wooded island is inhabited by a mad scientist intent on building an orchestra of musicalautomata. A woman scrawls endless rows of text with pencil nubs while outside, a harsh play of light resembles an apocalyptic borealis.

Film, and animation in particular, isn’t my bag, so I didn’t know a damned thing about the Quays before this article, and Brady lays out their oeuvre and their accomplishments without engaging in hagiography. Weird that he quotes them as a kind of plural subject, but it makes sense — over the phone, eerily similar voices, the ebb and flow of conversation. Again, not gonna complain when Brady does stuff like this:

“They’re adorable,” the Quays recall, in a tone of voice more suited to “They’re poisonous,” or “They’re radioactive.”

Where did he get the hat he pulled that line out of it, and where can I get one?

PW: Tara Murtha takes a tough, well-informed look at sex trafficking and the aftermath of a career in prostitution. It’s grounded in psychology, international and domestic law, and in a well-drawn capturing of a disarmingly candid subject: Mimi.

The abusive relationship between pimp and prostitute—or trafficker and victim—can be one of the biggest retention tools. The dynamic between very young girls like Mimi and older predator pimps is especially problematic. To them, the thinly veiled abuse can feel a lot like love.

pw-2_27_09.jpgAllegiance to a long-term pimp is part of the psychological phenomenon that makes kids so susceptible to predators in the game.

“You’re with a certain guy and you’re with him a long time, like two or three years. And you want to get out of the game but you can’t, because you’re in love. At the end of the day, you are in love with this guy,” she says. “You’re strong, you’ve got a strong will about yourself to go out every night, sell your pussy and then come home and give all the money you made to that guy.”

It’s called trauma bonds, a severe attachment disorder most common among abused and neglected children. It results in a tendency to avoid or resist their mothers and to show loyalty to abusers. It’s one of the psychological concepts that counselors at Dawn’s Place plan to address.

Mimi’s story is the heart of the article, and Murtha frames it smartly and without shying away from its complexity. One minor slip-up, which I’m sure isn’t Murtha’s fault (okay, two: the cover photo is kind of tasteless, also not her fault): the headline is misleading, or at least the product of wishful thinking. Dawn’s Place isn’t the center of this story, and it says near the top that Dawn’s “isn’t fully functional.” We just have to hope that Mimi and others like her can hold on until Philly really has the “safe haven” that the headline advertises.

INSIDE THE BOOK

CP: Serenity now: Challenges in Chestnut Hill. Hey, I hate the Mets, too, but don’t hate on the immortal combination of blue and orange. Saddest page ever: post-bankruptcy reporting up top, budget victims down below; both are sure to be part of a continuing series.

PW: Nice reflection on those who protect and serve. Badmaster, bad move: Pretty sure he meant “Dischord.” Dept. of Lines I Wish I’d Written: “I opened the album with a whore and ended it with a junkie.” This review convinced me to join the construction-grade wheelbarrow brigade.

WINNER: “We’re doing the best we can with the resources we have left.”  That quote’s about the Daily News, but it could apply to both alt-weeklies, too. Lots of typos and other dumb mistakes this week — who’s “Josh Hollenbeck”? — but still, two good covers. PW takes it, though, for following up last week’s questionable cover with a winner.

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