Sunday, January 28, 2018

Professor Elemental [alleged] RAPIST + steampunk musician

In the post-Harvey Weinstein era, let's revisit the accusation that steampunk musician Professor Elemental is a rapist. No charges were filed against him, but that doesn't mean he didn't break the law. Let's review!

TL;DR version – yeah, he should have been incarcerated, IMO, but I'm no lawyer
(but you gotta read the part about how I punched a bunch of old ladies! I can make any story about me.)

Back in 2016, I had over 4,000 people on my Facebook friends list. For every one I'd delete I'd get ten more random friend requests, and obviously I didn't know most of them. Then the insanity of election year really hit hard and it was time to remove the idiocy. I chopped my friends list down to under 1,000.

Then, a couple days ago, a post from Paul Alborough (Professor Elemental's real name) pops up on my Facebook newsfeed. I'm like, "What? How did that fucker survive The Culling of 2016? He's got to go!" Not too long after that, a troll from the local steampunk community popped in on a post talking mad shit, and I'm like, "He survived, too? I need to go back through my friends list again." See, here in Arizona, we have a lot of fools who think they're Billy the Kid, forgetting that I know who they are in the real world, and I was **this close** to handing William the CPA his ass. But I didn't.

At the Church of Cthulhu we get hate mail, or hate posts left on our Facebook page, on a weekly basis. And as fun as it can be, the best advice in these cases is "DON'T FEED THE TROLLS!" Just delete the message or post, block them, then forget about them. So that's what I did. Later, Willy.

But it got me thinking about all the douchebags in the steampunk community who were a breath away from getting pulverized. In the old days, back in 2001, Willy would have been hospitalized, if he survived the ambulance ride. But I've left those violent worlds behind me. I don't hang out with my thug friends very often anymore.

I've been in clubs and bars most of my life, managed a few, and even owned one for a little while. And when your peers are from the streets, ex-gang members, bouncers, hustlers, dealers, the only thing a man has is his name. Respect means everything. You live and die by it. And people like Willy, and Professor Elemental, and Captain Robert (from Abney Park, we'll get to Captain Douchenozzle in a minute) usually need to be taught the meaning of respect the hard way.

I miss my boy, Tiny, the most. Of course, some of the ladies we worked with named him that, because it was the exact opposite of what he was – a freakin' man mountain who enjoyed beating the shit out of people who deserved it. If you disrespected any of our waitresses, gawd forbid you made the mistake of sexually harassing one, Tiny took the utmost glee in dragging you outside and pounding you into oblivion. His specialty was breaking jaws. One solid swipe with his sledgehammer fist and that sickly **pop** as your jaw is dislocated from the rest of your skull. . .

So that's the world I'm coming from. [Long gone. Stay back. No more bad people.] It turned out, some of my new friends were running the Wild, Wild West Steampunk Convention 2013 down at Old Tucson Studios. With my background in clubs and events, I ended up running the entertainment on the various stages. The main saloon stage is where the steampunk celebrities perform, such as Professor Elemental and Abney Park. Go ahead and laugh, I know steampunk celebrity is an oxymoron.

Simple fact: Captain Robert Brown, lead singer of Abney Park, is a super douche [IMANEEO, In My And Nearly Everyone Else's Opinion]. Go on any Facebook steampunk group page, especially one of the steampunk musicians groups, and just say, "I hear Captain Robert from Abney Park is an asshole. Why?" and watch the hundreds of responses come rolling in from people with all their negative personal encounters with him. By the way, he's not a real captain. That's make believy steampunky stuff.

So it's time for sound check, and Captain Robert is drunk. He claims that he needed to drink to perform, it was for his voice. Whatever. I like alcohol. As long as he can perform, we're good. . . Until he gets on stage and starts yelling and cussing and belittling all the Old Tucson sound crew. "Here we go again," says the main sound tech. Apparently the Captain had been the exact same way the year before when he played there. They say they don't mind, they're used to drunk cowboys playing Old Tucson all the time. Well that shit don't fly with me.

If he had ever pulled that shit at one of my clubs, he wouldn't have been singing that night, maybe not breathing, either. One of my sound guys used to do those dead lift competitions where they used Volkswagens instead of weights; Captain Robert would have been smooshed up into a tiny, bleedy red ball. But going back to the steampunk celebrity comment, a lot of the bands who play these conventions can't pull off gigs in non-fantasyland, yet alone a tour, so they don't know what it's like to be a real working musician. They're used to people kissing their ass, whereas in the real world it would be kicking their ass.

So I grabbed some sort of blunt, wooden instrument. I don't remember what exactly. Was it a broken chair leg? Hmm. Anyway, I was off to have a "discussion" with the Captain when one of the convention coordinators walked into the saloon. I explained the situation and said, "You better go talk to him, because you don't want me to." Robert later made a half-assed apology to the sound crew.

By the way, I was a fed from 2002-2007, #1 bomb guy in Arizona, I was seriously (and hilariously) the highest trained federal law enforcement officer in the state; only the city SWAT guys were better trained than me. And the bomb-sniffing dogs, they're the best, naturally. Okay, I went through old ladies' dirty underwear at the airport looking for terrorists, but I still had more training than any of my coworkers, all the extra stuff fell on me (no extra pay, thanks fuckers! Don't work hard at a government job, they'll reward you by making you also do the work of the lazy assholes around you. The entire Department of Homeland Security is just another government scam to funnel our tax dollars into the military-industrial complex). A lot of my coworkers were ex-cops, so here's a free. . .

COP TIP – when subduing a perpetrator, use your expandable baton or nightstick to strike the outside of the target's upper leg. Most people will attempt to protect their head and upper body from a strike thus leaving them vulnerable to a lower body attack. This will cause bruising but no permanent damage with which the perpetrator can use against the police department should litigation later occur. NEVER strike the knee! They are easily broken and then can be used to prove police brutality. If this initial blow is not enough to drop the perpetrator to the ground, it will cause enough pain in most people that you will then be able to easily step to the side and swing at their calves and the back of the knees, ensuring that the perpetrator will not be able to remain standing. In this now-prone position they will be easier to subdue and restrain.

Captain Robert was two seconds away from being subdued, "Well, officer, he was visibly intoxicated and became belligerent with the Old Tucson employees. When I confronted him about his behavior he became combative and came at me in a threatening manner. I was forced to protect myself, and as I was also responsible for the safety and well being of the guests and other convention workers, I physically subdued and restrained the perpetrator until the proper authorities could be called and arrive." Two seconds. That convention coordinator saved him from a lifelong limp.

Here is the beginning of Professor Elemental's part (and where I PUNCH OLD LADIES). Most of the local steampunk community was unaware of the rape allegations against him at this time. Not making excuses, but this part will establish that **maybe** he's not as much "I LIKE TO RAPE" as he is "I'M AN ALCOHOLIC WHO CAN'T HANDLE HIS LIQUOR AND GETS BLACK OUT DRUNK THEN DOES LOTS OF BAD THINGS."

So, Professor Elemental is wasted. Incoherent, how-are-you-still-standing, wasted. Abney Park is playing their set, everybody's loving it (Like their recorded music? They had a new guitarist and they are soooo much better live). They had broken their set up into two parts. At the end of the first part, still-drunk and always a dumbass Captain Robert announces to the crowd, "I will give a FREE CD to everyone who goes over and gives Professor Elemental a kiss!"

I've worked clubs and security long enough to know that things are about to get real bad, real fast. And they did. The inebriated Professor Elemental is leaning on the bar talking to a teenage girl and her mother?/sister?/over 18 friend? I rushed over to him because I knew what was coming; Professor Elemental was mobbed by about twenty or thirty 50-year-old ladies (and a couple of old gentlemen). They're running, knocking over chairs, pushing people out of the way to get to the Professor, slamming him up against the bar trying to get a kiss. He's been talking to the young ladies and not paying any attention to the show, so he is caught off guard and has absolutely no idea what is happening.

I start trying to block the crowd – no one stops. I start yelling for everyone to get back – no one listens. So I start smashing grannies! I'm flingin' seniors, I'm elbowing elders, I'm pushing pensioners, I'm wrestling retirees; because not only is Professor Elemental being pressed into the bar, the oblivious idiot is too drunk to realize that he is now standing on the young lady's floor-length skirt and she is falling, barely holding onto the bar and being propped up by the other woman with her, as they are all being pushed along the bar and slowly dragged down.
I tell him several times to move his foot, to lift his leg – nothing. Blank stare. I tap his leg and repeat the statement – nothing. So I physically grab his leg and lift it for him, and untangle his foot from her skirt. Her companion pulls the young lady to safety. So I go back to smashing grannies! The ones in front finally got the message after being "physically prevented from harming Professor Elemental" because remember, ANY unwanted physical contact is legally considered assault. I was protecting the intoxicated guest, who clearly could not do so himself, from an unruly mob who were assaulting him. But the back of the bunch kept pushing forward, so the geriatric jungle rumble continued.

Finally, the crowd figured out that maybe they shouldn't be attacking the Professor.

And this was the last year the man who originally organized the convention would be running it. He didn't care about steampunk as much as making money off of the one good idea he ever had in his life. See, he's a fucking idiot. So no one really knows if it was out of greed or stupidity, but the number of tickets sold for the show that night was greater than the maximum occupancy of the building, thus exceeding fire safety capacity.

I wonder what the charge and statute of limitations would be for Captain Robert's crime? Probably "inciting a riot" which would result in a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge. But, they were over capacity, people were assaulted because of his actions, and there were young children present in the crowd as well, so felonious reckless endangerment would be more likely.

And that was just Friday Night. . .

The next day, Professor Elemental returns the American flag that he stole from Old Tucson the night before and woke up wrapped in, in his hotel room. He was black out drunk so he doesn't remember where he took it from. Those aren't cheap dollar store flags, so what he thinks makes a humorous anecdote during his performance that night is actually admission to felonious theft.

Abney Park is not asked back the next year. Because of his rude behavior towards staff and organizers at other conventions, the same thing was occurring at several other events. And at Abney Park's overpriced performance fee, that equates to a loss of 10's of thousands of dollars. It's good to know there were actual consequences for his continuing bad behavior. And I know they dropped their asking price by a chunk, probably because they weren't getting shows anymore. People talk. Convention organizers talk.

It is during the middle of this same year that the allegations of Professor Elemental's rape of Olivia M. Grey become widely known in the steampunk community. And as is still sadly prevalent even today, there was lots of victim blaming and slut shaming, and mostly support for the celebrity who would never do that.

I foolishly agreed to be stage manager again in 2014. I lectured them like little children about fire and crowd safety, making sure they understood that if someone gets hurt, Old Tucson doesn't get sued, the convention does. And then that would probably also mean no more convention.

Professor Elemental was invited back again. "And have you discussed the rape allegations with him? Criminal charges could very easily get his travel visa pulled."

Basically, his answer [yes, second hand from the convention coordinators] was there was drinking, and his celebrity status had really went to his head, and he may have to sue for defamation, and. . . that was it. No denial, no regret, no apology. To my knowledge, he never mentioned it or defended himself in any public or online forum, he just let the storm of screeching sycophants rage on his behalf.

California has added clearer definitions as to what constitutes sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape. Every court case comes out differently. From Olivia's retelling, I would think sexual coercion would be the appropriate charge. But formal charges were never filed.

The one aspect of her description that no one seemed to notice, "Even while in his tiny hotel room, I tried to leave. Twice. Knowing it was wrong. But he physically stopped me, both times. And the seduction continued. And I begrudgingly let it." In many states, that's KIDNAPPING! Don't believe me? Ask O. J. Simpson.

And Olivia has also said that she has, "emails from him where he referenced how I tried to physically leave the room, and he blocked my exit with his body both times."

One of Professor Elemental's friends was accompanying him in 2014 to film a music video, and supposedly he was to be chaperoning, making sure the Professor didn't drink too much. Yeah, let me tell you how that worked out. People were buying Professor Elemental drinks all day long, from his arrival at Old Tucson to his performance at the end of the night. Let's be conservative and only call it 10 hours of continuous drinking. Have you heard the expression, "two-fisted drinking" before? This was literal! He had a drink in each hand every time I saw him as I was working throughout the day. When I confronted him about it, his response was, "It's okay, it's American beer. There's almost no alcohol in it." I believe one of the coordinators called him on it, too, and he used the same excuse.

So by the end of the evening he was slurring his words, swaying back and forth while talking to people, because he couldn't stand up straight without doing so, and once again, I was two seconds away from having to give some steampunk celebrity a little "professional guidance" out back, when the Old Tucson manager noticed his level of intoxication (luckily for me, because I might have felt bad after slapping the shit out of him, "Listen, you drunk fuck. . .") She asked, "Is he going to be able to perform?" I replied, "At this point, I don't know. He wouldn't stop." So she went and told the bartenders he was cut off, then had some words with him.

He performed fairly well, only noticeably slurring twice and forgetting part of a song once. But some people in the audience could tell. Afterwards, because his set had started late, Old Tucson was contractually closing at a set time, so he wasn't able to talk to people/sell merch for very long at all; so he pitched a loud, drunken bitching fit aimed at one of the coordinators (not really a rage, but it was enough that a few of us were about ready to pound him). He apologized later, but he was so lit I wonder how much of any of that day he actually remembers.

I foolishly agreed to be stage manager again in 2015. But Yog-Sothoth decided that I had been through enough and shifted realities for me. I have always, always, always told everyone that my kids come first. Being a good father is more important than playing dressup with my friends (though I do have a kick ass pith helmet and some sweet custom goggles). I only get them every other weekend, and their mom was going out of town that weekend. I found out a couple months in advance so I dropped out of Wild West Con.

I was momentarily sad when the weekend of the convention finally came, because I didn't get to see any of my Tucson friends; but I love my kids, and we always have fun no matter what we're doing, so I didn't regret the decision one bit. And in the years since, the way the weekends have fallen, I've had my kids that weekend. I've thought about taking them, but they don't care about going to panels or hearing about history (they're 10 and 12), and there's not enough to keep them entertained to warrant the two hour drive from Phoenix to Tucson. Plus, they always say, "we hate your steampunk friends because you talk to them and ignore us," so I'm making sure that never happens again (It was only one event, and they got ice cream while we were there. Damn kids always wanting to be the center of attention. Don't know where they get it.)

So, in conclusion:

~ Fuck Captain Robert
~ Fuck Professor Elemental
~ Captain Robert – maybe an alcoholic, definitely a douchebag
~ Professor Elemental – maybe a rapist, definitely an alcoholic
~ Fuck Willy the Accountant
~ Fuck Nyarlathotep
~ Fuck Captain Robert again, in the ass with a rusty, barnacle-encrusted Nautilus
~ Fuck steampunk, take care of your kids
~ Read Chainsaw Alice in Wonderland, the SICKEST steampunk horror novel ever written!

Please note, no raper rapper wordplays were used.


  1. I love the aesthetics of steampunk, but the drama of the commununity sucks all the fun out of it. It's been a rough few years for the valley groups.