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    Seattle Weekender: Joaquin Phoenix goes nuts and justice is served at Town Hall

    Crosscut's guide to a culturally enriching weekend. Or at least some fun.
    Damien Echols, part of the West Memphis Three, wrote about his time on death row in Life After Death

    Damien Echols, part of the West Memphis Three, wrote about his time on death row in Life After Death Penquin Group

    The Master

    Pervert, scoundrel, animal, drunk, lackey. Joaquin Phoenix’s character Freddie Quell in the newly released movie The Master is all of these and more. Skeptics of Phoenix’s acting ability after his Hollywood insanity stunt last year have been quieted. With Quell, Phoenix’s return to acting registers somewhere between completely effing nuts and bat shit crazy. He’s the standout in a movie wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma.

    Writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson hasn’t made a movie this obscure since he made it rain frogs in Magnolia. Ostensibly based on the foundations of Scientology, The Master follows Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and his right-hand-man, Freddie Quell — master and pupil, prophet and apostle — as Dodd’s philosophical movement, 'The Cause,' catches on in America.

    On first viewing, The Master is hardly comprehensible with barely an understandable storyline. As Freddie becomes more and more immersed in 'The Cause,'  Dodd's cultish philosophy becomes weirder and weider. He attempts to delve into a subject's past tragedies to restore the mind to a state of perfect. "Your fear of imprisonment is an implant from millions of years ago," he tells Quell at one point. The film rolls out one confounding scene after another, one warped ideology after another, leaving you with little more than just general brush strokes forming a plot. Although vague and mysterious, The Master is also challenging. And that's what propels in into high cinema. It’s like nothing you’ve seen in the theater this year. I assure you that.

    If you go: The Master, The Guild 45th and other theaters, 2115 N. 45th, check theaters for showtimes, $8-$12.

    Damien Echols reading

    With three weeks to go before he was to be executed for murder, Damien Echols — thought to be the leader of the West Memphis Three — was released from prison a free but technically guilty man. Seventeen years ago, Echols, along with fellow teenagers Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, Jr, were convicted of murdering three young boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. The story spread like wildfire through the U.S. Some believed the teens were victims of a biased legal system that railroaded Echols and company because of their Metallica T-shirts and long hair. Johnny Depp and Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder were so convinced of the trio’s innocence they used their celebrity to spread a rallying cry for the trio: “Free the West Memphis Three.”

    Nearly two decades later, when DNA tests finally proved their innocence, the teens were sprung from prison by a legal sleight of hand. The three boys were released on the condition they admit the prosecution had enough evidence to convict them and after entering guilty pleas. (One of the three, Jason Baldwin, moved to Seattle after the events.) Now a free man, Echols has written a memoir, Life After Death, which chronicles the abuse he suffered in hell-like living conditions and his indignation toward the justice system that put him on death row for a crime he didn’t commit. At Town Hall, Echols will speak in a conversation with KIRO radio host Luke Burbank, musician and activist Danny Bland, and attorney for The Innocence Project, Kelly Canary, about his infamous role as one of the West Memphis Three.

    If you go: Damien Echols, Town Hall, 1119 8th Ave, Sept. 28, 7:30-9 p.m., $5.

    Italian Festival

    The Seattle Center never stops working. It hosts 5,000 events and generates about $1 billion annually. In 2012, the Center celebrates 50 years of operation with Festál, a year-long series of free events encapsulating the Center’s creed of cultural diversity. September's theme is all things Italian; specifically, this Friday, The Taste of Italy. The Taste, located at the Center House, features some 70 different Italian wines, live music by The Primo Basso Band, Italian antipasti, and crudités for palate cleansing.

    On Saturday and Sunday things will get more family friendly (and cheaper) with the 25th Annual Italian Festival. Some notable Italian restaurateurs will be on hand for cooking demonstrations, including Nick Stellino of PBS's Cucina Amore. The adventurous can enter competitions like the Grape Stomp (crush the most juice from 20 pounds of grapes) and the Bocce tournament, before moving on to a show of historic Italian photos and a classic Italian car show. Kids can pet Italian dogs at the dog show (So why can't adults drive the Ferraris?), and practice their pizza dough tossing. And of course, there will be pizza, pasta, prosciutto, salami, focaccia, gelato, espresso and more.

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    Posted Fri, Sep 28, 7:47 p.m. Inappropriate

    The West Memphis Three were found guilty because of the evidence and their repeated confessions, not because of their hair or clothes. DNA did not prove their innocence. The crime scene was under water.

    Many people believe the West Memphis Three were guilty as charged. The West Memphis Three were found guilty by a unanimous jury the first time and plead guilty last year instead of waiting for a trial. Misskelley (one of the 3) confessed FIVE times, three times to the detectives, once to the police and once to his own lawyer. All of the West Memphis three had failed alibis.

    Echols had a history of threats of violence, violence, psychiatric treatment and psychotic behavior. His reported actions included brutally killing a dog, starting fires at his school, threatening to kill his teachers and parents and stating he liked to drink blood. See court documents exhibit 500 for evidence of this. Echols' stated under cross-examination that he was interested in the occult. Echols' journal contained morbid images and references to dead children.

    Police took a necklace from Echols when he was arrested. An outside crime lab later found blood from two distinct DNA sources on the necklace. One source was consistent with Echols himself. The second source was consistent with both victim Steven Branch and co-defendant Jason Baldwin (one of the 3). A car load of people saw Echols in muddy clothes near the crime scene. Echols went around bragging he committed the crimes to at least three different people after the crimes were committed.

    see wm3truth com for more information on this case

    Posted Sat, Sep 29, 10:41 p.m. Inappropriate

    There have been many cases where convincing evidence of ritualized murders have been uncovered, yet justice has been overwhelmingly absent. The McMartin Preschool satanic abuse case, the Orkney, Scotland ritual abuse crimes, and now this story come to mind. There seems to be a formula for those in power behind the crimes that has proven successful in covering up their guilt:

    Formula for Getting Away With (Ritualized) Murder:

    1. Vicious, relentless attacks on the police work along with the credibility of all those who care about the children who are tortured and murdered and would seek justice for these horrors

    2. Massive, deceptive propaganda campaigns, using money, media power and contacts, to promote the innocence of their members who are caught with real evidence of their crimes

    3. Dramatize the situation, reframing it from the real issue (atrocities against children) to red herring issues (shoddy police work, scandalous targeting of "innocents" being arrested falsely)

    4. Use people in positions of power or celebrity to lend credibility to the lies, perhaps because said individuals are part of the organized power structure seeking to get away with murder, or because they are ignorant of the truth and have been convinced in the "cause."

    Anyone who tells me there is no such thing as ritualized crime/abuse is either highly naive, ignorant, or trying to cover up their own culpability. Wake up--for the children's sake! More info available at http://ritualabuse.us/.


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