I met Muxie sometime around 95 at the Showcase Theatre. He was going by the name “Wednesday” then. I remember one night I asked if I could take his photograph. We did a sequence of shots on a roll of black and white film with my Nikon 35mm film camera. Following that, I would see him at various goth shows in the Corona and Riverside areas. Decades would pass before we became reconnected through social media. While gathering the visuals for my book Still Life: The Photographs of Maggie St.Thomas, I remembered that impromptu photo shoot we did nearly 30 years ago.
In October 2021, I sent Muxie this image of him I developed in the darkroom while studying a B&W Portrait Photography course at ISOMATA School of the Arts. In order to achieve the textured effect, I placed a canvas film negative on top of my own. To soften the photograph I placed the cellophane wrapper from my KOOL soft pack as a filter.
I told him I wanted to include a photograph from that shoot we did in Still Life, and he happily agreed.
On Saturday, August 13th, I told him I found the perfect place for the book signing, a chapel at Shoreline Funeral Home & Crematory in Long Beach. I invited him to come down and sign some books with me and some other artists published in the pages. I was definitely looking forward to him signing my book! I figured it would be the perfect time to catch up. Muxie agreed to come down and said he would be honored.
In between conversations throughout the years, we talked about his mother’s book, unpublished but a “funerary” record to most of the Blackfeet nation from 1965- 1989 (last he saw it). “My mother was a photojournalism professor at Long Beach Stateand on the rez. She also did some forensics work, as her father was the sheriff.” He talked about getting out to Riverside Thursday nights to paint. Going to the Santa Ana Artwalk and coffee shops in Fullerton.
Muxie’s Last Words
August 23rd was our last conversation, as I was getting the final material for my book. We talked about death, how he felt about it, the traditional death customs of his people, how he wanted to be sent off, and performing with Christian Death at the Showcase Theatre. Just three days after this conversation, which would be Muxie’s last interview, I found out he passed away in a fatal car accident on August 26th. He struck a tree while driving. I was beside myself when I learned the unfortunate news of his passing.
I need to get some quotes from you to add to the book.
“Shadows are the ink of dreams., Mind how you cast them.”
How do you feel about death?
Death is an eventuality that can be prepared for or ignored. You may prolong its arrival but preventing it is not common. Those who fear it may feel they won’t be able to finish some important thing. Those who embrace it may think that their troubles will end. It could be that both of those lines of thinking are wrong. Who am I to judge? I was only dead for a little while. The realm of the dead exits all around us in the same moments and space as the realm of the living. The makers are there, the angels and demons too. You don’t have to die to see this; you just have to know what you’re looking at. Heaven and Hell are their places of employment. They don’t spend all their time there. Likewise, you might not see the souls of the departed on the other side if they’ve been reincarnated.
How would you like to be sent off… cremated or buried? Tell me about it.
The traditional custom of my people is to stick your corpse in a tree so you can see the path to the spirit world. As a child, I encountered a few of these rotting away on platforms returning what they were made of to the natural world. The wind and the dry air made some of them mummies. People stole these, and strangers buried them. My ancestors from the other side of the sea would build a great pyre with all that you needed to prosper in the ghost world, then plant you right on top of it all and light it up. Sometimes even only almost dead.
For myself, a ritual of solemn prayer with gratitude to the maker for my curious life. “The four days” for 24 hours each day place the corpse
-1 day on the highest peak
-1 day by the sea or any waterway connected
-1 day in the woods
-1 day on the plains, all with kin and a great celebration.
” The three nights” you wait for everyone to get there that can, then on the 7th day, a feast honoring all the folks I loved and the makers for the life they gave. After that, you can keep my shell in a glass box like a saint and visit my tomb on nights of revelry. I remember once I told you that I would build a crypt to hold my remains. Inside there would be a statue of me holding a drinking horn. Perhaps my actual hand is sealed in stone or preserved for eternity in clear resin, offering a horn that is eternally refilled with strong liquor for honored guests.
You once performed with Christian Death at the Showcase Theatre. Tell me about that.
Yes, I shared a stage with Christian Death. I was there to back up Killing Process on keys, though we may have been booked as “The Demonix’s.” After our set, I remember watching Rozz Williams pull organs from a gash in his belly. There were goths in the front row that I personally knew were vegan. They got what they deserved, have a fucken steak. They loved it!
What stood out to you?
Then and there, I realized the spectrum of Gothdom that reveled in SOCAL. I came from rockabilly roots in Indian country to surf punk, punk rock, thrash, deathrock, goth, dark wave, industrial, classical, and tribal. Ethereal, Trance, Vampires! They were all at the Showcase Theater at the same time on that one night. It was splendid, amazing, and fucking brilliant!
Muxie is featured on pages 46- 47 of Still Life: The Photographs of Maggie St.Thomas. His memory will be honored and celebrated at the book signing, and release party Saturday, October 29th at Shoreline Funeral Home & Crematory located at 5443 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach, 90805. Live guest performances by Eva O. (Christian Death, Shadow Project, The Speed Queens), The Bourbon Saints, and a grim set by DJ Tony X. Admission is free. 8:00 PM- 12:30 AM