09 June 2014

'The Pass In Review' Explodes in Surreal Second Issue

The sophomore issue of The Pass In Review, informally organized around a theme of humor, is now available for printing and purchase via Createspace. Availability in electronic formats such as Amazon Kindle is still pending. The 70-page quarterly literature and arts journal features fiction, poetry, visual arts by military veterans, as well as interviews with artists and veterans-arts activists.

The journal has been previously been mentioned on the Red Bull Rising blog here and here.

Featured on the new issue's cover is one of Giuseppe Pellicano's grenade series, a surreal depiction of an anthropomorphic explosive device taking part in a princess-themed tea party. Pellicano crafted the absurdly large grenade from two half-egg-shaped industrial lights and a little sheet metal.

Readers of the Red Bull Rising blog may also recognize Pellicano's work from the Journal of Military Experience, Vol. 3, published in 2013. In The Pass In Review, the remainder of Pellicano's grenade series is presented alongside a "campground-style" Q&A interview. The long-form arts interview is a signature feature in both this and the journal's inaugural issue, and one hopes it will continue in future issues.

Photographs of Pellicano's "War Pigs," a series of ceramic masks, appear in The Pass in Review's coverage. Through Nov. 1, the masks are also currently installed in the National Veterans Art Museum's "Surrealism and War" exhibit.

The grenades, Pellicano says in the interview, are readily accessible symbols not only of how military veterans are depicted in media, but of the emotional and social struggles faced by many people who have experienced trauma. He says:
I think that a lot of civilians can relate to it, too. A lot of civilians have post-traumatic stress too. If you’re a rape victim, obviously, you’re going to have PTSD. If you were mugged and beaten in an alleyway, you’re going to have PTSD. S---, the whole state of New York has PTSD after 9/11. It’s common. And maybe they can see, that even though there might be a disconnect between being a soldier and being a civilian, there is this connection that we are all human. And we all suffer. And we can all find a common ground to talk to one another and help one another.
Other highlights of The Pass In Review's second issue include:

Five haiku poems by the writer of the Red Bull Rising blog. Friends, Iowans, and colleagues may remember my love of subverting the haiku form, and "your squad leader writes haiku" features such tactical and practical advice as this favorite:
Cover stops bullets
and concealment hides from view.
Know the difference.
Two pencil drawings from Christina Beltran, a former Marine and combat engineer who deployed twice to Iraq. Whether working as a writer, photographer, or artist, Beltran injects insight and humor into every subject she sets her eye toward. Her "Halt," depicting a small child with upraised hand as seen from behind a crew-served weapon, stops me in my tracks everytime. And I want a copy of her "Follow the Leader" (at right) to hang in my own creative space. (The bumper sticker is funny, because it's true.)

A very funny short story by Christopher Clow, a former citizen-soldier in the Oregon and Washington National Guards. His "Five Most Dangerous Things in the Army" is a series of vignettes in ascending order of rank, hilarity, and truth— starting with "A Private saying ... 'I learned this in Basic,'" and ending with "A Warrant Officer saying ... 'Watch this s---.'"

A short story titled "Roadkill," from Canadian-born Michael Starr. The fictional tale seems based on his experiences as a former member of the Israel Defense Forces (I.D.F.). In the story, a squad attempts to make sense of an inscrutable interpreter's apparent vendetta against ... porcupines. The Pass In Review has notably opened its calls for submissions to include members and former members of any nation's military, and the transcendent humor evident in Starr's story demonstrates the universality of the uniformed experience.

An interview with United States Veterans Artists Alliance (U.S.V.A.A.) Executive Director Keith Jeffreys. The Los Angeles-based organization supports military veterans' involvement in the arts, humanities, and entertainment. The group's work includes gallery installations, theatrical productions, and other endeavors.

Submissions for The Pass In Review's next issue are open until Aug. 3, 2014. Click here for more information.

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