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"I was left very impressed with Spencer Kansa's treatment of Cameron. This compassionate yet balanced portrayal makes Cameron's legendary status undeniable and understandable. This story really did need to be told once and for all, so hats off to him for doing it." Zeena Schreck, co-author Demons of the Flesh.
"Wormwood Star is a fascinating and very, very well-researched look into Cameron's perplexingly strange life. As a reader and longtime admirer of Cameron's work, I'm grateful for the attention Spencer Kansa paid to detail." Richard Metzger, DangerousMinds.com
"Wormwood Star describes a magickal woman and artist, not as a tragedy but as a true Babalon. A woman and creative being in her own right who, rather than change to the dictates of oppressive society, became a defining part of a changing one. Fabulous!" Charlotte Rodgers, author The Bloody Sacrifice.
"Wormwood Star is a superb effort on every level, incorporating impeccable research and very well observed viewpoints. It brought Cameron alive for me. This very well written, entertaining and exciting work deserves to be widely regarded as one of the best books of 2011!" Stephen Sennitt, author of The Infernal Texts: Nox and Liber Koth.
"Spencer Kansa brings to life the countless cabals and social occasions which Cameron enjoyed to the hilt. He might as well have been there when it all happened too, so authoritative is his knowledge and feel for the sometimes penniless world of the practicing magician."Joe Ambrose, OutsideLeft.com
Spencer Kansa has written for a wide variety of publications including Hustler, Mojo, Erotic Review, Vox, Headpress, Hip Hop Connection and the NME. He is the author of Wormwood Star, a biography of the American artist and occult icon Marjorie Cameron (Mandrake of Oxford). His debut novel, Zoning, has recently been published by Beatdom Books. His interviews with literary legends William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Paul Bowles and Herbert Huncke feature in Joe Ambrose's book Chelsea Hotel Manhattan (Headpress).
Over the years I've developed a small obsesssion with Marjorie Cameron and her work - so I eagerly ordered this book when it came available. I really wanted to like it, but ultimately I was disappointed. This book does indeed fill in some pieces of the puzzle and I did come away knowing more about Marjorie Cameron than I did when I started the book. What I continued to be frustrated about as I was reading it is how poorly written it is. There are a few times that events are told out of order and other events that would seem to elicit more information or explanation are glossed over. There are some good images of Cameron and people that she knew in the book, but many others are enlarged beyond recognition. What is the point of supplying images of people that supposedly knew Cameron that are essentially shapeless blobs? The writing and the presentation made me question whether or not the book was well researched. Hopefully there will be another Cameron biography in the future that will be the definitive biography.
For fans of Kenneth Anger's 'Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome', John Carter's 'Sex and Rockets' and 'Strange Angel' by George Pendle who have long awaited a biography on Marjorie Cameron (1922-1995), Jack Parsons' divine consort, wife and magickal partner. The Aeon has arrived with this work by British artist and occultist Spencer Kansa. Kansa is to be commended for his on-site research conducted throughout the U.S. crossing and crisscrossing the places Cameron knew, lived and loved.
From her early years in rural Iowa where her artistic and eccentric temperment was formed, to her service during WW2 and her move to California where her family had relocated. We see an initially reluctant student of Magick who only gradually assumed her occult life through the tutelage of aerospace pioneer and Thelemite Jack Parsons. With his untimely and tragic death in 1952, Cameron embarked on a singular path as Magician, lover, artist and actress who never looked back in regret on her chosen path in life.
Kansa is correct when he says Cameron easily stole the show and became the central image in Anger's phantasmagorical film 'Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome'(1954). Her appearance as the Scarlet Woman burns itself into the mind of the viewer forever. Interviews with those friends and students who knew her best provides a three demensional figure fully human and noble in her refusal to compromise her views on the inner life and tragic in her lack of common sense. She remained a tenacious survivor through all that life threw at her. Interviews with Curtis Harrington and Dennis Hopper on Cameron's appearance in the 1961 cult movie classic 'Night Tide' is revealing as to her powerful presence on camera though she appears for less than 10 minutes on screen.Read more ›
I have to be thankful a bio on Cameron has been written, but the writing suffers from a lack of a proofreader and editor. I'd hate to read Kansa's novel. The photos in the book are so badly reproduced one must wonder if anyone even looked at the layout of the book before it went to the printer. Truly horrendous, pixelated crap. Now for the positive part: despite its obvious shortcomings this is a much-needed book on an intriguing, influential West Coast artist/occultist. I truly enjoyed reading about Cameron's exploits, the details of her life, her art, and her associations with Jack Parsons and other underground art/literary folks. Highly recommended for interested parties.
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Well, this is a truly intriguing book about a truly intriguing individual. Although it could have benefited from better graphics and a good proofread, so what! It's been a while since I had such a good read. Beyond its portrayal of Cameron's world of a far-out person surrounded by other far-out people in a far-out place and time, Wormwood Star had a surprisingly far greater impact on me. It has helped me to better appreciate the bizarre and eccentric people in my own life and love them for who they are and not be disappointed in them for who they aren't, and for that I am grateful. Well done!
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