Angel from the Rust Belt Hits Gritty 1970s and 80s New York Underground Art Scene

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (tarotworldtour YouTube)  lisafalour

In early January, it will mark one year since the reported passing of Lisa Baumgardner Falour, an underground artist of tremendous wit, variety of talent, and powers of observation. We covered her here to great response in March with the Remembering Lisa Falour post (which includes a few videos and other resources with information about her), and at some point by early next year, I’m planning to release some of our correspondence. I feel confident that her spirit is in agreement with me doing this because several of the people in our YouTube circle experienced her BCCing (blind carbon copying) other individuals in her emails, often without our knowledge, if she felt that somehow relevant information was going to be passed. She was not discrete in this regard, and yet somehow it is for our entertainment and shock in these subsequent years. She often wrote to me and others in emails “Leave it to my biographers to sort out!” So that’s what we’ll do and perhaps others will be inspired to pick up her story.

As a preview of what to expect in these exchanges (actual names will be removed where necessary and appropriate), I found a lengthy video of hers that I had somehow missed, probably because of its length. This is her scrapbook which corroborates much of what she disclosed, which is phenomenal in that so much of what she told seemed embellished but wasn’t – it was all so varied and larger than life. So we’ll catch you again soon with the informal release of ULTIMATE LISA. In the video below, she mentions Keith Haring, William S. Burroughs, Jack Handey and Saturday Night Live ties, and shares related notes and scraps placing her firmly in the hippest and most edgy settings of New York in the 1970s, 80s, and early 90s.







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Regression Anticipation

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (tarotworldtour YouTube)    016

I am very excited to be doing another past life regression today (I hesitate to call it that full term given that I spend as much time in versions of centuries into the future as I do the past). It is without hesitation that I tell you regressions are probably my favorite thing to do, which my regressionist friend jokes to her friends and clients about my zeal. I have had two further ones that I did not write about because I’m holding back some of the material for a longer, bigger writing project. If anyone wants to know more about the experiences, don’t hesitate to ask, but my first three have been recounted in deep detail here:

A regression is not necessarily revealing literal events, but they certainly are vivid enough to be real.

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (tarotworldtour YouTube)

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Neoliberalism Follies, Part IV: Credit Scores

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (tarotworldtour YouTube)Banking394443_738618131769_580483637_n

My knowledge of the history of credit is rather limited, which is something I discover at a greater scope and in more dimensions daily. I have read a number of business and finance books and yet examining the personalized ramifications of it all never did appeal to me because I have always been consumed by wishing to not have any debt.

I financed my bachelor’s degree in the US and master’s degree in Canada, as well as advancement or continuing education certificates by saving from earnings and then paying by cash or check VISA card from my financial institution. When I overheard current colleagues in Kansas speaking about point reward systems with their American Express and Wells Fargo VISA cards, I began applying for these cards and was systematically declined for all cards that I applied for. Another friend and colleague advised me to visit (a resource that has proved to be indispensable – and as luck would have it, free) and it was there that I learned that my score was 636. In the United States, the credit score system ranges from 300 to 850. An industry standard I have found indicates that under the score of 640, one will have great difficulty getting an unsecured card (one which does not have some kind of deposit for collateral). In my case, I have no demerits or negative remarks in the factors leading to my final score – it is a matter of not having utilities or loans in my name. In effect, I do not exist in the credit system.

I did believe that I would be able to get an unsecured (no collateral down) credit card through my bank. What they offered me after 15 years of having significant deposits in two accounts was to place $2,000 in a 2-year Certificate of Deposit (Term Deposit) at 0.3% interest, a form of security, and then I could graduate to an unsecured card. I felt very slighted by this proposal, so I instead went with a CapitalOne MasterCard, which allowed for me to place a $99 refundable deposit for a time until my credit score may build up. This card is noted for reporting to major credit agencies in the US, and after several months to a year of paying down each payment monthly, many users report their credit score surging up by 100 to 150 points.

I have always said that the only thing good credit does is enable you to go into more debt. However, gaming the system is crucial to survival in an era where virtual money will continue to play a larger role in our lives. It takes reading 19th century novels to fully understand how creditors operate – the severity of the situation has been downplayed in our modern language. Wealthy individuals and organizations flush with cash can get financing for free or even get the subsidy of governments and then as you work down to those with less clout and information at their disposal, the costs multiply. The best way of looking at these figures is like this. If you have an individual who makes $2,000 a month and is able to save $200 a month, but then they experience an increase in fees from a service or utility they use by $50, their rate of savings has plunged by 25%. An individual who makes $2,500 and who saves $700 on the other hand would have a savings rate dip of 7% under these circumstances, and may also have more resources to offset this other loss.

What I have learned from is that a person with a small income should consider using credit on a very small, manageable scale in order to have a war chest at their disposal in an emergency. My scoring situation is still ongoing, but I have learned that be utilizing (using) between 1 and 30% of my available credit and paying off the balance, the score should increase more quickly. I have borrowed $2,000 from another bank I have worked with for a six month term and set up automatic payments so that the score can be boosted further.

It seems like a Kafkaesque situation that there are punitive structures in place for individuals that pay cash or do not have debt. Any loan or credit card application does not question your higher education background or have any way of measuring outright cash purchases, so it is my belief that the scoring system is not designed to truly reflect one’s ability to pay a debt, but rather 1) to see how strong of a consumer you are and show your attractiveness as a big spender, and 2) create a situation whereby one is rewarded for moving away from cash. We will continue to see a war on cash, portraying it as a vehicle for tax evasion, money laundering, and a danger to carry around for fear of being robbed – all of which is true, but bear in mind that it does not come with the same administrative costs and fees that credit cards do for the merchants.

My personal aim is to get the rewards bearing cards, returning 1 to 6% on my purchases, but only to use the cards with large players and chains, while sticking to cash with local and small businesses, giving them a much needed advantage in the neoliberal economic model.

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (tarotworldtour YouTube)

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Neoliberalism Follies, Part III: Fascism by Way of Cappuccinos and Lattes

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (tarotworldtour YouTube)

I do feel guilty. Earlier this year I purchased a hand pump frother with solid investment CAM00769returns in mind.

All through undergraduate university years I never was a coffee drinker, but suddenly in South Korea in 2008 I found that I needed to take caffeine to the next level in order to not literally fall asleep while teaching English pre-school in the morning. Cafes are quite ubiquitous in the Seoul area, and I soon moved from high fat, high sugar, high calorie frappuccino drinks to cappuccinos and lattes. Standard drip coffee is quite rare in South Korea, so I wound up spending about $4.50 per day most days on these elaborate drinks. This habit continued for a few years while traveling and relocating to Canada and later the United States. When my income contracted, I did make it a less frequent habit. Over the years, however, I probably sunk $6000 in cafe spending, though this offered sanctuary, social outings, and complimentary WiFi.

Flash forward to 2015 and I decided I wanted to decentralize this process a bit and make my own frothy espresso-based drinks. The frother, a pump that I insert milk into and push about 20 times, and then stick into the microwave for about 20 seconds, set me back $21 including tax. Faced with savings interest rates less than 1% per year, I calculated that I would save about $300 a year working with raw materials, which would be like a 3% return on $10,000 locked into a certificate of deposit (term deposit) – a figure unmatched in today’s safe investments environment.

The thing about low interest rates and economies of scale is that they do induce a type of corporate fascism in that there are no stable returns and thus the people with a bit of foresight and discretionary income have to sit on their money. Money that does not CAM00767circulate brings the economy down, particularly in a consumer-based economy. Therefore, on one hand I am being “forced” to austerity that hurts small, local business in order to get myself ahead, but on the other, that does not really take the responsibility away from me to make sure that I support local business or labor at large.

The compromise has been to go to cafes just as frequently as before, but save the more elaborate drinks for home, but order the most basic filter coffee at cafes when going out and still tip the barista/institution the same amount – typically $1.

How are you handling these daily, seemingly trivial, consumer Faustian choices?

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (tarotworldtour YouTube)

See Neoliberalism Follies, Part II: No Newspapers in Montreal

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Global Economic Calamity and Rising Above

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (tarotworldtour YouTube)028

There is a major global economic correction on the way to hit sometime between now and the US presidential election in late 2016. For most people, but probably most of all the self-employed, there has not been a full return to normalcy after the 2008 Global Financial Crisis onset, but there has been considerable relief for many. As was revealed to me in a regression last year, however, I do feel that retail space in North America will experience serious suffering in the next five years. Speaking on pure empirical terms, the signs leading up to 2007-2009’s onset of problems are all present once again: much higher stock market reads, a strong real estate market, lower official unemployment rates, and yet many mergers and business closures going on. What will make this next round particularly catastrophic however is that there is not much more ammunition to deploy in regards to stimulus money printing, lowering interest rates that are either at or near zero, and with debt figures that are higher (both personally and at the sovereign debt or federal level). The memories of the last crash are so fresh that people will be much more prone to panic and despair this time.

Greece will publicly begin its withdrawal from the eurozone this week (right now the banks and stock market are expected to be closed) and the country will likely shift more of its orientation toward China and Russia, though the former may have too many problems at home to help out. Australia, New Zealand, China, and South Korea, all up until recent times locations with high interest rates (a sign of financial health) have all slashed their interest rates drastically in the last 18 months for a variety of reasons (mainly to counter flagging exports or keep their real estate bubbles going) – and so in others words, there are no safe havens showing up this time with the emerging economies and BRICS being in worse straits than the US, Japan, and UK. Currency war techniques are also much more ubiquitous now than in 2008, further complicating how to move and plan financially (I expect a repeat of the US dollar, Swiss franc, and Norwegian krone exploding in value; but this time it may put the US dollar under too much pressure and finally end USD hegemony). I do believe Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Germany this past week is some kind of gesture to try to keep affiliation with this country a priority while it may be tempted form stronger alliances with Russia and China and BRICS going forward.

With all that said, hard times can bring out the best in people and some progressive initiatives could potentially come about in this phase. I ask that everyone in these last months or year of general economic prosperity use this time to build up their cash reserves, and if you are particularly well-positioned, think in advance of what kind of deals you might want to snap up when misfortune potentially takes hold. We must not lose our moral compass, but at the same time, we all need to be nimble, swift, and adaptable when another shift takes place – the main key now will be to somehow get on the winning side of automation. Above all, as I have personally learned, we have to not let sentiment guide too much of our decision-making in a business and investment context.

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (tarotworldtour YouTube)

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Neoliberalism Follies, Part II: No Newspapers in Montreal

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With this series, I define a “neoliberalism folly” as a situation where a more efficient method or practice comes into play that has some liberating aspects to it for the end user, but the price to society and the economy at large also outweighs the benefits.

I visited Montreal for a little under a week to revisit my past of living and working part-time in the city in 2012, and found not so many structural changes, but a world transforming as a consequence of the smartphone. In 2012, there were at least 10 places I can recall physical, printed newspapers available for sale (primarily at dépanneurs, a pedestrian community type of convenience store) in the neighborhood I lived in near Concordia University en route to Westmount, the primarily English-speaking well-heeled neighborhood toward the West Island. However, with visiting in May 2015, I was only able to find one location offering newspapers for sale, the Pharmaprix (known as Shoppers Drug Mart throughout anglo Canada, similar to a Walgreens or CVS Pharmacy in the US) on Saint Catherine Street, the main drag or High Street. Canada has a number of high quality newspapers, The Globe and Mail, National Post, and Montreal Gazette is another local English newspaper from the city that I follow from their Facebook page. While Canadian newspapers, at least in English, follow a less sensationalized pattern than US ones usually do, I do feel like they retain a quality of journalism perhaps higher than what you find Stateside.

When inquiring with the dépanneur owners, mostly Asian or from North Africa, they said they could not bear the risk of having the newspapers on site because they no longer sell in their stores because “everyone” is now getting their news from their smartphones. That said, I have heard from a variety of sources from varying professions and perspectives that print ads in newspapers are still perhaps the most effective campaigns a company or retailer can invest in. Perhaps home subscribers fiscally see the newspapers through and have predictable enough consumer habits to be reliable investments for the advertisers. But for young, urban, scholarly types, what will be the most influential methods of pushing forward breakthrough products?

The question at hand is a cost-benefits analysis of perhaps greener practices involved with not printing so much newspaper that will be thrown away or recycled in a matter of days versus the quality interactions purchasing a newspaper can create, as well as the reliable segment of income this product used to offer newsstands and dépanneurs. This may save consumers a dollar or two a day but what other groups or products will capture this money in a low-interest and soft retail environment?

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (tarotworldtour YouTube)

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Remembering Lisa Falour

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (tarotworldtour YouTube)

Taken from Bossa Nova Beatniks' Facebook page.

Taken from Bossa Nova Beatniks’ Facebook page.

Many of you will fondly remember the participation and remarks of Lisa Baumgardner Falour on this website and from YouTube. I had a strong premonition as January 2015 wore on that she had passed, and sadly, to the best of my knowledge, it appears she did die in her home in early January according to fineillstartagoddamnblog, kitwenclas, Club 57 The Book, and Bossa Nova Beatniks. She died at the age of 57.

An artist and philosopher, among many other credentials and talents, her Bikini Girl zines have been shooting up in price, now showing in the $125.00 range and showing up in higher positions on Google. Her two primary places of living were in New York City in both the Lower East Side and Brooklyn and later what she referred to as a Paris suburban ghetto, the city of St. Denis, France. She was a very strong influence on my own activities and assisted many who frequent this website in one way or another, building vast social media networks, particularly on her YouTube channels slobomotion and cutecatfaith, and a lisafalour Daily Motion account, all of which I recommend that you visit for highly useful insights and guilty pleasure, non-politically correct humor. Chemtrails, abductions, financial wizardry and crimes, spousal relations and tribulations, and more than anything, her experiences as an expatriate in France are the main subjects. Lisa Falour released well over 2,000 videos on her channels from 2010 to 2014. There are so many that are useful to watch, but I have selected several here that may be particularly poignant, amusing, or informative for you. Rest in Peace our friend, and to those reading, spread the good word of an amazing artist who needs to be researched and remembered.

“Bondage Model in a Haunted Apartment”


“Lisa Falour’s Bizarre Expat Exploits – France”





“Immigration is Traumatic!”



“Losing Everything … (Bus Ride, France)”

“ — Part 1”

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (tarotworldtour YouTube)

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