about Norvell's Great-Niece, your Host

Roots Country and Blues artist Lonesome Liz was dubbed 'The Female Robert Johnson' by 'Southern Fried Magazine'; honoring both her sultry contralto and the Hellhound on her trail. Her performances are heavy with Southern Gothic undertones. A natural storyteller, her words shift to expose the seamy underbelly of the South, which she translates through a mystic veil of mojo; often drawing on history along with Hoodoo and other Folk traditions.

Her performances have included Drive-by Truckers artist Wes Freed, art revolutionary Molly Crabapple, Jesco the Dancing Outlaw and she's shared a stage with Timbuk III's Pat MacDonald, The Goddamn Gallows and the .357 String Band.

Featured in the upcoming Hasil Adkins documentary, 'My Blue Star' by Ron Thomas Smith, she has she has also appeared in and directed dozens of plays as well as in an award-winning independent film, 'Leon's Aspirations'. Also a playwright, she has written and produced adaptations of both 'Faust' and Sartre's 'No Exit'.

A multi-disciplinary artist, she is also a music and fine art journalist, published primarily in 'Outlaw Magazine', 'Fine Art Magazine' and GratefulWeb.net. She was the last writer to interview Mike Seeger before his death and her Levon Helm retrospective received praise from Bob Dylan himself.

She has also been tarot, astrology and mythology editor for BellaOnline.com and Suite101.com. Her writing and photography are featured in the best-selling 'Everything Ghost Hunting Guide'. She began writing in Chicago, when Slam was first emerging and her poetry as well as her lyrics have received praise from Beat Poets Charles Plymell and Robert Brannan.

Her strong, sultry voice and powerful lyrics are captivating. Though unquestionably feminine and alluring, she describes hangings, hauntings, reckonings and shoot-outs in a way that makes you think she was not only there but participated. One of Country's true Outlaw Women, Liz blasted the boundaries of Alt Country. However it's delivered, her sultry Southern vision takes you far from the expected. It's hard to resist the spell Lonesome Liz casts when her mojo's rising...

Submissions, Press, Etc: elizabeth.bissette@gmail.com

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Critical Look at 'The Citadel of Hell' - Wentworth as Street Musician Tito Caliepi

From "Pulp Era" 68, Nov./Dec. 1967 pp.29-31
March, 1934, Vol. II, No. 4, "Citadel of Hell"
Lead story by Grant Stockbridge, (aka Norvell Page aka N. Wooten Poge)
Interior illustrations by J. Fleming Gould.
Cover illustration by John Howit:

Cast of "Citadel of Hell"

Wentworth, Nita Van Sloan, Kirkpatrick, Ram Singh, Apollo, Prof. Brownlee.

Hanford Tyson: Sugar tycoon - first victim of the Food Destroyers

Janice Hally, an employee at Tyson's Sugar Refinery

Denny, Janice's boy friend - killed by the Food Destroyers

John Glastonbury, New York City DA

Smail Perkins, a member of the Produce Exchnge

J.J. Callhan, head of a meat-packing firm

Xavier Jones, of Amalgamated Can

Timothy Walsh, heroic boy -recipient of the first Spider ring

Dr. Jimpson Hughes, a dentist whose testimony saves Wentworth in court

Tito Caliepi, a Wentworth disguse - forerunner of the Spider

The Story: Wentworth, aware taht sugar king Hanford Tyson has been threatened with death, joins two police cars protecting Tyson's limousine. A Packard breaks through and its pasengers throw an incediary bomb which turns Tyson's car into an inferno, killing the occupant.

Wentworth trails the Packard to Tyson's sugar refinery where he is confronted by Janice Hally, a pretty employee, who holds a gun on him andd says she is going to kill him because of the death of her sweetheart, Denny. As he disarms her, the refinery goes up in flames. Killing a gangster who trys to bar escape, Wentworth affixes the Spider seal. When police appear, Janice yells that Wentworth is the Spider, and he barely escapes.

The next morning Wentworth goes to Kirkptrick's office to advance the theory that recent fires have been aimed at destroying the country's food supply and that leading food executives should be called together. DA Glastonbury appears with a warrant for Wentworth's arrest - having been identified by Jnice Hally, Wentworth is accused of Tyson's murder
Wentworth escapes and, assuming the identity of one of the food brokers, attends a meeting where it is revealed that Xavier Jones of Amalgamated Can has been threatened. Adopting a disguise as Tito Caliepi, crippled, hunchbacked violinist who wears a cape and black felt hat, the Spider goes to Jones' apartment and is confronted by a dope addict, member of the gang.

Putting celluloid points over his own teeth, the Spider is about to obtain valuable information when the leadr of the Food Destroyers - a man in a red mask - appearswith other members of the gang. Wentworth escapes and heads for the scene of the next fire. Unable to prevent the fire, he does save the life of a boy, Timothy Walsh, and his family. Later when Wentworth is overcome by smoke, the boy and a fireman save him.

The police arrest Wentworth as the Spider, but the boy helps him to escape. Wentworth gives him a ring impressed with the Spider seal.

Suffering a severe bullet wound, Wentworth goes to Prof. Browlees' home and is bed ridden for three weeks. There is a severe food shortage, mobs are running wild in the streets. Nita has been jailed by Glastonbury as Wentworth's accomplice. Recoverng, Wentworth captures Xavier Jones and assuming his identity, goes to a meeting of the Red Mask and his gang. The gang attempts to kill Jones-Wentworth but the police arrive.

All but two of the gang escape through a secret exit. Those two lie dead with the Spider seal burned into their foreheads.

Wentworth, again disguised as Tito Caliepi, openly meets Kirkpatrick and identifies himself as the Spider. Desperate, Kirkpatrick makes a pact with the Spider and promises to supply a fleet of radio cars and policemen. Wentworth and Ram Singh, in one car, broadcast messages to other cars and the gang of Food dsetroyers are defeated. Confronted by the Red Mask and Janice Hally, the Spider convinces Janice that the death of Denny was the Red Mask's doing. As Janice and the Red Mask struggle, one of the incendiary capsules is broken and the two are burned to death.

In a unique closing episode, Wentworth and Nita stand trial for the murdre of Tyson but the case is dismissed when a surprise witness is called.

Critical Comment: "Citadel of Hell" is an extremely readable and quite satisfactory "Spider" adventure. Strangely enough, the three-week recuperaton poeriod when Wentworth is disabled adds to the story's strength. It not only gives the reader a chance to catch his breath, bu it enables the situation to worsen, thus making the Spider's reappearance even mroe necessary and his success even more satisfying. Too, the reader is gratified by the open alliance between Kirkpatrick and the Spider which gives each a more heroic proportion - each is willing to do the extraordinary if it means saving people.

General Comment: Of special interest to the "Spider" historian is this preview of the disguise which is to represnt the "Spider" in later issues. Wentworth, disguised as Tito Caliepi, affixes the celluloid fangs only in order to terrify a dope addict. In the story's conclusion, he wishes to draw outthe gang and knows that they will recognize the Spider as teh hunchbacked violinist - thus, he again dons the disguise. It should be emphasized that this is the forerunner of the Spider disguise rather than the birth of it. Stockbridge does not make the switch immediately.

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