Bad Adventures chapter seven, part 2: How Wheeling, West Virginia, restored my faith in everything.
(updated May 29th with developments since February.)

OK, we had our aftershow passes, and everyone turned to me and said "NOW HANG ONTO THAT! Don't even put it on till we're out of here!" So with a deathgrip on my pass that no earthly power could have severed, I trooped off after EVB and coyote where they pointed us, and trotted past the guard. Probably about thirty people, all sorts, were there too, including one scruffy guy offering a hundred bucks to anyone who'd sell their pass. Yeah, RIGHT. (I put it on then..) We were all shown into a cafeteria-like room with big tables where everyone sat, including Skank Girl - can guess what she did to get a pass =) - and a guy who had some terrific artwork to show Manson. -- This is the actual aftershow locale, I was told, and eventually whatever members of L7 and Marilyn Manson want to come and hang out will do so. If, however, Manson wants to see you, you'll be sent for and escorted back to the dressing room. So I raked my hair into some semblance of order and we waited.

And we were sent for. That is, us three, EVB, coyote and me.

--I can in no way express my emotions at this point, siblings...

We were conducted back to the very cozy dressing room: dark blue, warm, and lined with couches and easy chairs; candlelight only (red, black, and white candles, very appropriate) Alice Cooper playing ("Welcome To My Nightmare") and tables of food set up along the wall. (Trivia note: Wonderful selection of foods! Fresh fruit, candy - Reese's Cups, Starbursts, TicTacs; a loaf of bread, raw eggs, instant cocoa, sodas and beer.) Great decor items like a LavaLite and a set of bookends in the shape of monkey heads with the skull laid open showing the brain - really! [These can be seen in CNN's "American Edge" interview with Manson, which had been shot here earlier that day.]

Manson was sitting on the table talking to someone and we waited our turn. He looked great - all in black (really accentuates his leanness) with long sleeves, soft brushed leather pants and stacksoled boots - I wished I didn't look quite such a mosh rat. EVB (fearless soul she) stepped up first and, I think, gave him the "Motel 666" list shirt; I was trying so hard to think what to say that I really didn't notice until she mentioned the Rolling Stone interview, which I took as my cue to step up. He was asking if Neil Strauss [RS writer/ eventual Manson co-biographer] had called us, as Manson had requested, to talk to me about my ACS review, "Worms With Angel Wings". - Liz said she had FAXed him a copy but doubted he'd read it.

"I don't think he did - he didn't mention it," Manson said, sounding actually disappointed. Then he noticed me standing there.

(Now mind you I was not sure that he knew who I was - I mean, that he identified paula angelynx, writerperson, with me on sight. Well now.)

He took my hand and said "I want to thank you for that - I really appreciate it. The first time I read it it made me cry."

What on earth do you say to that? I think I said "thank you, that means a lot to me." I hope I didn't say something stupid. I mean, great immortal name, he he looked up, totally earnest, and actually said that to me. And I had not introduced myself - I had not said a word. He recognized me.

Whew. I asked him if he was otherwise happy with the Rolling Stone piece, and he said he liked it, though not the Spin one. Then I gave him one of the antiChristian brochures SHARPTOOTH and I had brought and said I'd wanted to make sure he had one - he'd seen the generic one but not ST's version, and he unfolded it and pored over it carefully in the candlelight. "Wow, this is cool. It's great to see people produce something like this." He said they'd been thinking of putting out something of the sort to counter the stuff being said about them, and I said if he'd like to use this one he was more than welcome.

Well. Other people were there so he played the good host and invited us to get something to eat, which we did. We settled ourselves in the U of couches at the end of the room (coffee table with candles in the middle of the U) and watched folk come and go for a bit. Said hi to Zepp. Some little blondes in black vinyl were frisking about.

After awhile Manson picked up his water bottle and announced in that smoky soft speaking voice, "I'm coming over to sit with you guys." He curled himself up on the arm of an easy chair - such a bundle of angles - and there was a moment of what I swear was acute mutual shyness. =)

Good ol' EVB broke the ice again (she's the star at that) asking about their forthcoming plans. She's already posted all those details so I won't repeat. It was such a pleasure to just sit somewhere quiet and talk and listen to him and watch him. I told him how glad I am that he likes my ACS piece, because it's so important to me, and he said he'd like to have a lot more people read it. ==(OK, you heard the man - go back to my web page and read it! =)==
He commented that his grandparents came from this area of West Virginia - "--not the one who's dead, the other ones," he added. "Those would be your mom's folks, then," says I and he nods, "Right."

He introduced us to the new person in charge of the fan club - nice, capable-looking lady who promised to look into our claims of forgotten membership requests. [She did.] Manson commended my review ("it's actually more of a book report...") to her as well (OK, OK, I believe he likes it!) and suggested it might appear on the band's forthcoming official web page (!)[Didn't happen, or at least hasn't yet..]. We happily exchanged addresses/e-mail addies with her and also gave her the antiChristian flyer.

In a minute he got up to get a beer and stood there talking to Liz - he speaks so quietly
I couldn't hear him, though I was only sitting a few feet away, so I went around the coffee table and sat down by his feet and Liz's. He cocked his head and looked down at me, and then, just like that, sat down on the floor at the end of the little table. Obviously we're all getting over our shyness by now. =)

We talked about all sorts of things: the Christian protestors, the 700 Club, things the band is going to do (like stay in venues no bigger than the current tour, thank goodness). We joked about the damage to our ribs on the barricade, and he replied completely deadpan, "Well, I don't have any, but you knew that." (So he does hear the rumors...Didn't grin until we laughed - no wonder reporters believe the wild stuff he likes to say, he delivers it absolutely straight.) I mentioned I'd had numbers of people try to tell me that his blue eye is glass, and he remarked that people don't realize his eyes aren't either brown or blue, but green. (Look very closely at color photos: there is indeed a green tinge, down in the moss/jasper range.) Ah, says I --having just listened to the 100-minute demo on the drive up-- I get it; rhymes with "impotent fiend, meat for a queen." "Wow, 'Meat For A Queen'," Manson says with a grin/headshake at the unexpected mention of something so obscure. [For those of you who don't have the Spooky Kids demos, the verse goes "I'm an impotent fiend/I'm meat for a queen/My hair is black and my eyes are green."] He says he doesn't even have copies of those old demos (!)--Daisy has 'em all. Then we got into collector mania and I swear he was fishing for something we didn't have - did we have an uncut SLC? the European singles (he's very up on track listings of odd releases)? How about old flyers? We said we only had a few and he sort of nodded and said he thinks he still has all of them - I don't think I'd be too surprised to get a bundle of photocopies sometime in the future...=) We griped that we don't have the SLC promo nightlight and learned that he doesn't have one either!

--By this point he's completely stretched out - and that takes some space!- with his shoulders and elbow resting on the sofa behind him, in touching distance to coyote (and don't think she wasn't thinking about it =); "I'm getting real relaxed now," he remarked contentedly. (There's no way I can convey how it felt to realize that he trusted us. Wow.)

(Mentioned how he'd like to do something special in an acoustic show - "something like MTV Unplugged with theatrics, no one's ever done that." What a mental image.)

Jenn Miller, editor/creator of the "Unofficial MM Newsletter" [great little zine which was briefly adopted as the official band publication, but sadly didn't last thru the transition] came in and we all chatted a bit about her visit to his home town and the "Kinderfeld" house. Manson's apparently revisited it as well, which must be a strange experience. Did Liz tell about his Axel talon ring being confiscated by Canadian customs? He seems to miss it a lot (and so does Anton LaVey's little boy...), so I suspect EVB's very similar claw isn't long for this household... [Suspected rightly. See review of the Richmond VA show.]

I know there's more...but eventually the party broke up as the manager came back to tell Manson that the crew had to start loading the dressing-room gear, and if he wanted to continue his conversation he'd have to move onto the bus. Seemed a good opportunity for us to politely take our leave. We each got a hug (!) and he said he'd try to keep in touch (!).

I'm staggered. I'm totally, utterly staggered by all this. It's much more than I ever even hoped for.
Great big red neon wow. =D main gig review page. the next night.