Sunday, April 17, 2011



JESSE: The genesis of this interview began with Darren and Mike Wallace. Wallace had started an independent magazine called Apathetic Zealot. Shari Finnell, who was a reporter with the Indianapolis Star, had somehow gotten wind of the magizine. She called him and set up an interview for a new section of the paper called YEP. So, Mike invited Darren and me to join him and his cronies for the interview process.

When we arrived for the interview in one of the school's conference rooms I made myself useful by eating the donuts offered by the paper’s staff. Everyone else just sat around, nervous, unable to eat. I had nothing to be nervous about as I really didn't do anything for the magazine. I just helped them staple the paper together and hand them out. So this was all a free ride for me and I got the most out of it.

Shari Fennell finally came into the room and asked if we were being well taken care of. Darren and the others were acting really shy. I held up my donut and said, "You journalist type sure know how to treat a guest right, but next time may I suggest pizza instead of donuts?"

Shari laughed at what she perceived to be a joke. Sadly, I was a fat boy and was dead serious. She sat down at the table and pulled out her notebook before asking us to go around the table and state our names and what we did for the paper. They all introduced themselves and when she came to me I said, "My name is Jesse and frankly I do jack shit for the paper. I sometimes hand them out but mostly for toilet paper." They all laughed at what they perceived to be a joke. Sadly, I was serious.

Wisely, Shari ignored me for the rest of the interview (this would become a trend for our group's interviews, even when I had a lot to say). During a break Darren told me he was going to mention DIP to her. I smiled and said "Yeah, we do need some dip, I would like some chips". Darren laughed and walked over to Shari. Dammit, doesn't anyone know when I'm being serious? I wanted some fucking chips.

Darren went into one of his patented acts of salesmanship, telling her all about our group. She listened patiently with a smile on her face. When he finished she said she’d rather do an article about that, alluding to the fact that this whole magazine thing was just a fad anyway. She gave Darren her office number and told him to call her. Darren walked over to me and said, "I think she wants to fuck me." Darren thinks all chicks who say hello to him want to fuck him.

We finished the interview and went into a studio for the photo shoot. I was asked to get into the picture. I told them I was still eating the chips and dip that Shari just got for us. They all laughed and pulled me into the picture (I was starting to hate these people by this point). The photographer snapped some pictures and then sent us on our way.

A week later, Darren called and said our interview was in the bag.


I had gotten up rather early that morning. I was going to have to walk all the way to St. Philip Neri for a photo session and I didn't want to be late. As you know by now, I was fat, slow, and it was going to be quite a walk over many miles. I had decided to wear my most eye-catching shirt as well as my coolest pair of shades. The way I figured it, this would focus the attention instantly on me and people would say “Hey, that fat fuck, he's cool.”

As I started the long trek through my run-down, crime infested neighborhood a thought struck me: My coolest, most eye catching shirt was made of wool with long sleeves. Having chosen to wear this particular garment turned out not to be such a good idea considering it was a hundred degrees outside. I was sweating my balls off. The heat was unbearable and I had to stop several times to catch my breath and wring out my sweat-drenched shirt.

On my journey I found a friend. A small Dachshund had started following me. I stopped and picked up the dog to look at its name tag. The damn thing began licking the sweat off my face so I put it back down, but it kept following me. I tried to leave it in the dust but I was already at my top speed. After about four or five minutes I stopped and the dog stopped too. He again tried to lick my sweaty face but I shooed him away. A sound caught his attention then. An even fatter bastard than me was tramping along across the street. The dog ran to him and the fat bastard picked him up. The dog began licking him, which the fat guy seemed to enjoy. He walked off with the dog in the folds of his arms, both happy as corn in shit.

I finally arrived at St. Philip Neri, took a seat on the well-shaded steps, and waited for the others to arrive.

JEREMY: I was so excited the night before the interview that I couldn't sleep. When morning came around I threw on the tackiest shirt I could find, a real eye-sore with prehistoric drawings of lizards and the like all over it. Why I chose to wear this type of clothing to have my picture taken for a city newspaper is beyond me. I've never had much taste in the style department but at least these days I know what looks good on me and what doesn't. Back then I dressed to stand out, though not always in a good way. Anyway, Joe stopped by soon after and we walked to St. Philip Neri where we met up with Dar and Jesse.

I was relieved to see that nobody else had bothered to dress up for the event. Joe wore an Edgar Allen Poe shirt and his trademark fedora, Dar a white shirt with a smiley face tie, and Jesse a shirt even tackier than my own. We met with the photographer, a gruff old geezer named Gary Moore.

It seemed that Moore was under the impression that we would be dressed in costumes from our movies, and was vociferously disappointed by the fact that we weren't. In not so many words we told him to live with it. He gave us some pointers on how he wanted us to pose. When Shari arrived he complained to her about us not being in costumes. Shari told him to live with it and then led us to a brick wall behind the main building where we posed for about fifty pictures from which Moore would inevitably pick the worst ones.

I remember him telling us to "Get closer…CLOSER!” So we'd crowd together a little more, none of us too thrilled about being cheek to cheek. He yelled "CLOSER!" in that gruff, tobacco-stained voice of his and my immediate thought was that if we got any closer our atoms would mesh together, transforming us into some horrible mutated creature that would run amuck through the Midwest until eventually being brought down by the military.

When Moore was satisfied he went his merry way, his part in this grand tale done. Ironically, the caption under our photo in the newspaper reads: Mugging for the camera are (from left): Joe Devine, Jeremy Riley, Dar Parsons, and Jesse Handlon. Now, to set the record straight, there was no mugging involved, unless you count the part where I beat up Moore and took his wallet. Um, but you didn't hear that from me.

JESSE: I honestly believe that one of us should have taken the pictures, because Moore's finished work looked like crap. I thought it would've been cool if the pics showed us as a 'rock group' type. You know, all of us standing around in different positions, just trying to look cool. But all Moore seemed interested in was taking a bunch of pictures of us next to a brick wall. Shari even suggested that he get some snaps of us on the nearby playground. Our group liked the idea and we all started to go around and play on different things, swings, the slide, teeter-totter, etc. Moore reluctantly snapped away, mostly of us posing together on the slide. We gave our opinions on what we thought would be cool for the photos but lost out. I think the photographer resented us for not bringing costumes.

JOE: The pictures! That was fun! We did nothing right for the photographer. He wanted us really close together. We could not get close enough for that dude!

I don't remember picking out anything special to wear for this occasion. I just dressed for a normal day. When Jeremy and I arrived at St. Philip Neri, Jesse was waiting for us. Something wasn't right about him. That couldn't be Jesse. This fellow had his hair combed! Jesse would never do that! I never saw Jesse with his hair combed before.  And I never would again.


JESSE: After Mr. Photographer left for his cave to rest his weary head Shari decided to conduct the interview. She didn’t want to do it at St. Philip Neri, so Darren suggested Burger King. An unlikely place but it had food and drink and that's what mattered most.

JOE: The interview was supposed to take place in the school library, but it was too hot and the air conditioning unit was not on. So we ended up going to a more comfortable location.

JESSE: Darren's mind was probably where mine was: free grub! Shari suggested we all take her car. Darren said he would follow right behind us. We headed out and arrived at Burger King within minutes.

Shari picked a table near the back and we all gathered around. Darren started talking about his drawings and said that he and Jeremy were the artists in the group, to which I replied, "Being able to draw isn't the only thing that makes you an artist."

Shari reacted to this with a quick smile. Darren sheepishly conceded the point. Shari pulled out her trusty notebook and went to work. She started to ask us questions about our likes and dislikes. Jeremy and I gave her some truly wonderful answers. She gave us a look like “very interesting, but shut up.” She then had a long conversation with Darren about the movie 'Ghostbusters.'

Jeremy and I both felt the interview slipping away from us. It was apparent she had more of an interest in Darren and Joe. This was enforced by the fact that Jeremy and I got fewer and fewer questions sent our way. Jeremy (God bless him) didn't let this deter him. He would put in his two cents wherever he could. I also threw in wherever I could, which was far and in between.

The interview seemed to go on forever and I started to get bored. Finally, when I was about to enquire when we were going to get a free meal out of this whole deal Shari turned off the tape recorder and said her goodbyes. Darren walked her out to her car (he still thought he was going to get laid) while Joe, Jeremy, and I sat around and discussed the interview.

Darren came back in and said how impressed she was with us. I had to leave and get home. I was tired and I had to work later in the day. We went our separate ways. I walked home, suffering more through the extreme heat. I was an ocean of sweat by the time I reached my front door. I collapsed on the couch and fell into a quick, dreamless slumber.



A bunch of 'Dips'
head to Touchstone


The Indianapolis News/YEP

WHEN THE MOVIE "Ghostbusters II" came out in 1989 Joe Devine and Dar Parsons decided to make their own ghost trap. They took a fish tank, lined it with sheet metal, finished it off with a heat lamp and then turned it in for an 8th-grade science project.

"We figured that since ghosts were cold the heat would keep them in," Joe said with a laugh.

Their teacher wasn't impressed. He said it was nothing but a giant microwave and gave them a "D."

But they weren't discouraged. After watching "Weird Science" Dar tried to make a girl out of a Barbie doll. Using power cables. Then there was the "Back to the Future" project. Dar and Joe schemed about how they could get plutonium and build a flex capacitor for a time machine.

Eventually they gave up.

Now, five years later, they're at it again. This time around, though, they're making their own movies, on video.

Joe, 17, and Dar, 19, have teamed with Jesse Handlon, 18, and Jeremy Riley, 20, to form Dip Entertainment, which has produced a handful of short movies. One of Dar's movies, "Laugh A Little," was selected Best TV short feature in the Indiana Association of School Broadcasters annual contest this year.

And this fall, all four will put their movie-making talents to the test at the Center for the Recording Arts in Orlando, Fla., an academy sponsored by Touchstone Pictures. After a year, the students expect to earn specialized associates degrees.

Although "Laugh A Little" is a drama in the style of Charlie Chaplin movies, most Dip movies are gory. "'Laugh A Little' is about a guy who doesn't think he's funny," Dar said. "He's trying to find hope for himself."

Other Dip movies include "Blood Pudding" and "Vampire Thing." Blood Pudding is about a deformed man, who is abused by his father who dresses like his deceased wife and thinks he's her. The son later befriends "The Unicorn Boy," another deformed man who travels with a freak show.

"It's kind of a colorful red movie," Dar offered. "It's bloody. It has a lot to say about how people treat other people based on the way they look, instead of what's inside."

Joe added, "It's like the Hunchback Meets Texas Chainsaw Massacre."

Up until now, Dip Entertainment has had to improvise when making movies, most of which were filmed in their homes with small camcorders. They also have used Comcast's public access equipment and facilities. They've been creative with props, mixing corn syrup with red food coloring to make blood. And they have performed their own stunts, sometimes with unexpected results.

"In one Charlie Chaplin-like scene (during "Laugh A Little"), Jeremy and I were fighting," Dar said. "Suddenly, I didn't duck fast enough. Bam! I was knocked out cold."

After completing their one-year program at the academy, the four students expect to go their separate ways--at least for a while--before regrouping again as Dip. Their movie tastes vary widely. Jeremy, who acts, leans towards westerns like "A Fistful of Dollars." Jesse, who operates the camera, is into "weird and odd" films. Dar, who directs, acts and edits, prefers comedies, fantasies and melodramas.

"I can't get into horror that much. They bathed me in blood for one scene. When I look at the movie, I get queasy," he said.

And Joe, who writes scripts, directs and acts, likes "Weird out-of-the-way-type" movies.

But Dip Entertainment will continue to exist, they all said.

"It's going to stay. It will always be there and it will always expand," Dar said.

JEREMY: There you have it. Dar being the most charismatic member of our group naturally received the lion's share of attention in the article, as did Joe. I suppose it's only right, because, technically, they were the two who began the group. What struck me was that I talked as much as Dar and Joe and didn't receive one lousy quote; Jesse either, though he spoke less than any of us. And I love how we were categorized. Dar is a director, actor and editor. Joe a writer, director and actor. I'm just a lowly actor. And apparently Jesse's just a cinematographer.

As I recall (and recalled to Shari as well), I began in the group as a writer, graduated to acting, and was planning to direct my first feature soon. But I suppose Shari didn't have time to throw in: Jeremy, who writes, acts and plans to direct. I suppose I really shouldn't be bitter. I made the news; even made the front page (well, there's a small pic of our group 'mugging' in the upper right corner of the front page), which is more than my old man ever did.

JOE: The article was Darren's all the way. I got lumped in with him on stuff he did when he was a kid. Like the flux capacitor thing. That's right, he started telling Shari stories of things he did when he was a kid; things he did before he met any of us and I got lumped into some of that. I think he did that to make Shari laugh and get himself more comfortable. She liked it so much she put some of it into the article. As a result, Jesse, Jeremy, and I got very few questions. That suited me just fine. I've always liked to be behind the scenes more than in the spotlight. You know, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!"

JEREMY: Ironically, I would receive the largest slice of attention in a follow up interview in a 1997 article for the Indianapolis Star. The beginning quote is even: Indianapolis screenwriter Jeremy Riley loves to make movies that keep audiences guessing. So POOM! Vindication! Though, sadly, Jesse not only gets stiffed yet again in the quote department but his last name is misspelled. Poor, dumb clod.

JESSE: I had to work the day the article came out. At the time Indianapolis had a morning paper and a nightly paper, The Indianapolis Star and The Indianapolis News. Our article was going to be in the latter. I went to work and bought four or five copies of it. I knew my parents would also have one at home. My Dad always got both papers. So, I just had to get a few for my friends. I showed it to everyone I worked with. They were all impressed (or at least they acted impressed) and one person asked for an autograph. I knew this person was being a smart ass so I signed it to 'my whore' (luckily for me no one can read my handwriting, including me).

The article got us a couple of looks from other people. In fact, it led to a movie offer I'll get into in another chapter. For now, however, we had ourselves an article and some movies to show around. We were on the top of our game and it felt good.


JEREMY: On the day our article came out Dar, Joe, and I met early in the morning and made our way over to the newspaper dispenser where we grabbed a handful of copies. We then headed to Marsh where we proudly distributed the papers to everyone we knew. Needless to say, we basked in all of the attention and praising. Swelling with pride, the three of us decided to take a walk and discuss the article as well as our future plans.
Well, we walked for hours (at least, it seemed like hours) and the temperature was just below cremation-level. As we crossed Christian Park near where I lived I decided to fall to my knees in the street with my arms raised to the heavens and cry out, "How much further must we go?" This was meant as a lark; just me goofing off in front of my friends, hoping to get a snicker out of them. But, as luck would have it, a car passed by at the exact moment I did this. It stopped halfway down the street, screeched around and started back.

I was at a loss as to why and then Joe said, rather worriedly, "I wish you hadn't done that, Jeremy." Then it hit me: The asshole thought my falling to my knees and yelling was aimed at him. Man, what an ego! But I didn't care, as I stated to Joe seconds before the car pulled up alongside me. My hand inched to the knife on the back of my belt and undid the clasp. If this asshole wanted a fight I'd give him one.

I saw that he was of the white trash variety, with a shaved head, wife beater T-shirt, and a lot of grime, which surrounded him almost like an aura. He cussed me out, wanting to know why I had mocked him. I said I had done nothing of the sort, my hand tightening on the haft of my knife all the while. Then, without warning, the guy pulled a gun on me.

That froze me for a second, but only a second. This wasn't the first time I'd stared at the muzzle of a gun, and I had a fifty-fifty chance that this dipstick was smart enough to realize he couldn't shoot me in a residential area with witnesses all around and get away with it. Odds were he was just trying to put the fear of God into me. But if he thought I was going to piss my pants and beg for mercy he had another thing coming. The first thing that ran through my mind was: If this is the end of your life, face it like a man. The second thing was: Dar and Joe are being awful quiet; how are they taking all of this?

I risked a look in their direction only to discover that they were no longer there. What the hell, did they abandon me? There were several large bushes along the walkway and I heard a twig snap behind the middle one. Realizing there would be no help from that department I eased my hand off the knife as I turned back to face Mr. Dipstick. I was literally out-gunned. My only chance would be negotiation.

"I don't need nobody fuckin' with me!" Mr. Dipstick drawled.

I coolly told him I wasn't 'fucking with him.'

"Yeah, well that's good, 'cause I don't want no trouble!"

I told him neither did I, that I had merely been goofing around with my friends.

 "A'ight then," the welfare-collecting, foodstamp-saving, wife-beating piece of trailer trash said. "'Cause I ain't lookin' for no trouble! I don't wanna have to use this!" He shook the gun at me as if I hadn't noticed it in his hand.

"Well, I don't want you to use it either," I said.

"Okay then." The reject from Deliverance then took off, burning rubber and trailing a cloud of exhaust fumes in his wake.

I heard rustling in the bushes behind me and turned to see Dar and Joe cautiously emerging from their hiding spot. Dar had a long, thin tree branch in his hand. His idea of a weapon, I surmised.

"What happened?" He asked.

"Where were you?" I shot back.

"What, did you think we were just going to stand there?" Joe said in his defense. I couldn’t really argue with that. The only thing that had allowed me to stand my ground was the very reason that I felt I was supposed to. Clint Eastwood always stood his ground against the baddies, as did Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen, and so on. Running had not been an option for me, though it surely would have been the wisest path.

"We would've helped you if we heard a gunshot," Dar quickly pointed out.

"If you’d heard a gunshot it would've been too late," I retorted.

We continued our walk in relative silence, the day sullied now with this unexpected and unwelcome intrusion. One thing I knew for sure, I had to get out of Indianapolis. I just had to.

JOE: I'm not proud of this episode. It was afterward that I realized what I had done. I had abandoned one of my friends. I, like Jeremy, place a high value on loyalty, integrity and standing by your friends; and here I was cowering behind some bushes. I've always felt Jeremy thought less of me after this incident. I hope that somehow I've regained whatever I lost. I swore I'd never do that again.  And I haven't.

JEREMY: You haven't lost anything, Joe. Like I said, you took the wisest path. Onward and upward.



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