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...
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When he was a little older, according to some family members, his parents had tickets for the Titanic and escaped disaster when Norvell begged them to cancel the trip for reasons unknown. Norvell again played a hand in the family's escaping disaster when, one Christmas the family home caught on fire. Candles on the tree had been left burning.
He quite arguably saved everyone's life. Waking first, he threw his mattress out of his window, grabbed his infant brother and sister and ran screaming through the hall as he went back to jump to safety. His screams woke his parents who then jumped to the mattress themselves.
Not long after the Christmas Eve incident, Norvell was sent to William and Mary for college. He did well there but couldn't bear to be away from his high school sweetheart, whom his family didn't approve of. In an early display of strong fiction writing, he cleverly left a semester's worth of letters to his parents with his room-mate and eloped with her in his first year there. His room-mate mailed one for him each week so the post-mark was accurate.
Norvell lied about his age and experience to the Norfolk "Observer", claiming to have been writing for Richmond's "Times Dispatch" and was hired there. When Audrey became pregnant with their son, Norvell MacAllister Page, (Mac), the couple moved to Cinncinnati, where his father, managed Thomas Edison & Hugo Wurlitzer's ad accounts. Norvell wrote for the "Cinncinnati Post". The family ultimately moved back to Richmond, where he attended U of R, wrote for the "Times Dispatch", and began dabbling in Pulp Fiction.
His father had always encouraged him to write, envisioning him as another Poe, whom his Great-Uncle had worked with as an editor at the "Southern Literary Messenger". He was so much of a bibliophile, in fact, that his own and Norvell's middle name was Wordsworth, (he'd not been given it at birth but had it changed to it as an adult) and his daughter's Montague. He did not, however, approve of Pulp Fiction.
Norvell was to become it's king. He started off writing Westerns, then tried a number of other genres, using the pseudonym N. Wooten Poge. Ultimately, he began doing well enough as a writer that he decided to move to NYC. He first continued working as a reporter and editor for the "New York Times", "World Telegram" and "New York Herald." It is rumored that, while at the "World Telegram", he became involved in fellow editor Varion Fry's effort to resuce artists and scientists from occupied Europe.
Whatever else may or may not be the case, by 1933, he was a millionaire living on Riverside Drive, just like his top character, Richard Wentworth. He was the most prolific, and very arguably the most influential pulp writer there was. President of the American Fiction Guild, he edited their newsletter for some time. Among his closest friends were fellow writers Ted Tinsley and L. Ron Hubbard and Surrealist painter Max Ernst.
He continued writing not only the "Spider" but "Phantom Detective", "Shadow", lesser known Ken Carter, "Scorpion", "Skull" and "Octopus" stories and many, many more, including what is considered one of the best "Superman" stories ever. He also wrote radio scripts and a "Spider" movie serial.
His writing was both the bloodiest and the most philosophical, the most action-packed yet most prosaic, writing in the Pulps. He was also very ahead of his time. In fact, he quite arguably was ahead of our time. The "Spider" was the first character to undergo a full transformation, his "Dance of the Skeletons" was the first pulp to combine mystery and horror, his heroines were often as formidable as his heroes and his dark knights had a darkness about them no one has yet quite touched.
He wrote until 1943, when he abruptly stopped without warning. He dissappeared, for all intents and purposes, from both New York, the arts world and the Pulp world for good. It wasn't unlike what one would expect from one of his characters.
Why? Audrey had died and this, along with the U.S. involvment in WWII, led to his returning to VA where he was an intelligence worker in the Truman, Kennedy and Eisenhower Administrations. He died suddenly in August of 1961. He was survived by his son, who became a noted city planner and architect, several grandchildren and his second wife, Jean, who was also a novelist and political speechwriter. Surviving family members do not know where he is buried.
According to a 1939 editorial, Norvell lost all of his pulp records up to that point in a cabin fire but his family, who visited him frequently at the time, recalled neither cabin nor fire. The radio station that broadcast the "spider" radio show burned down and Norvell's scripts, sadly, along with it.