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Recent Headlines
a la Mod:

Domino is
a "disarmingly
straight-forward"
work that "pushes
us to reexamine our
relationship to images
and their consumption,
not only ethically
but metaphysically"
-Collin Brinkman

De Palma on Domino
"It was not recut.
I was not involved
in the ADR, the
musical recording
sessions, the final
mix or the color
timing of the
final print."

Listen to
Donaggio's full score
for Domino online

De Palma/Lehman
rapport at work
in Snakes

De Palma/Lehman
next novel is Terry

De Palma developing
Catch And Kill,
"a horror movie
based on real things
that have happened
in the news"

Supercut video
of De Palma's films
edited by Carl Rodrigue

Washington Post
review of Keesey book

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Exclusive Passion
Interviews:

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario

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AV Club Review
of Dumas book

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Interviews...

De Palma interviewed
in Paris 2002

De Palma discusses
The Black Dahlia 2006


Enthusiasms...

De Palma Community

The Virtuoso
of the 7th Art

The De Palma Touch

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Carrie...A Fan's Site

Phantompalooza

No Harm In Charm

Paul Schrader

Alfred Hitchcock
The Master Of Suspense

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Mission To Mars
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Sergio Leone
and the Infield
Fly Rule

Movie Mags

Directorama

The Filmmaker Who
Came In From The Cold

Jim Emerson on
Greetings & Hi, Mom!

Scarface: Make Way
For The Bad Guy

The Big Dive
(Blow Out)

Carrie: The Movie

Deborah Shelton
Official Web Site

The Phantom Project

Welcome to the
Offices of Death Records

The Carlito's Way
Fan Page

The House Next Door

Kubrick on the
Guillotine

FilmLand Empire

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italkyoubored

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Hope Lies at
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Mike's Movie Guide

Every '70s Movie

Dangerous Minds

EatSleepLiveFilm

No Time For
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De Palma a la Mod
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A note about topics: Some blog posts have more than one topic, in which case only one main topic can be chosen to represent that post. This means that some topics may have been discussed in posts labeled otherwise. For instance, a post that discusses both The Boston Stranglers and The Demolished Man may only be labeled one or the other. Please keep this in mind as you navigate this list.
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Tuesday, June 23, 2020
BIBBIANI ON 'BODY DOUBLE' & BEST HORROR FILMS OF '84
"MELANIE GRIFFITH CHALLENGES ALL EXPECTATIONS IN HER PERFORMANCE"
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/bdhottipsmall.jpg

At Bloody Disgusting yesterday, William Bibbiani posted an article with the headline, "Things of the Past: The 14 Best Horror Movies of 1984!" The list includes Brian De Palma's Body Double.

"There’s an alternate reality out there in which we’re all at the multiplex, or at least able to go, and watching all of the big blockbusters that were originally scheduled to come out in the summer of 2020," Wonder Woman 1984, we can still go back to 1984 and watch all the movies that would have been playing in theaters while Wonder Woman was fighting supervillains."

Bibbiani's alphabetical list also includes Joe Dante's Gremlins, Neil Jordan's The Company of Wolves, Tim Burton's short film, Frankenweenie, Wes Craven's A Nightmare On Elm Street, and several others. Here's what Bibbiani says about Body Double:

Brian De Palma’s lurid pastiche of Hitchcock’s Rear Window, Vertigo and Dial M for Murder stars Craig Wasson (A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors) as a sad-sack struggling actor who takes a housesitting gig and falls in love with a beautiful neighbor through a telescope, watching her as she seductively dances at night. His late night voyeurism makes him the only witness to her brutal murder, but the plot takes a bizarre turn when he notices that a famous porn star named Holly Body, played by a never-better Melanie Griffith, has the exact same sensual dance routine in her films.

The creepy psychosexual subtext of Hitchcock’s films is laid bare, front and center, in De Palma’s Body Double, a film which showcases some of the most ambitious and playful camerawork of the director’s career. Even when it’s not shockingly violent Body Double still feels shocking, as Wasson’s hapless protagonist discovers the depths of his own obsessions and the bizarre lengths he will go to in order to seduce the woman (women?) of his dreams. Meanwhile, Melanie Griffith challenges all expectations in her performance, revealing Holly Body to be as complete, as radical, and as intriguing a character as any in De Palma’s filmography.


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
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Saturday, June 20, 2020
GQ EDITOR - 'SCARFACE' AN UNTOUCHABLE '80s MOVIE
GQ'S BEST 1980s MOVIES, FROM 'THE SHINING' TO 'SCARFACE'
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/scarfacebooth1.jpg

Posted today, GQ's best 1980s movies: from The Shining to Scarface is made up of picks from the magazine's staff. Associate Editor Paul Henderson chose Scarface:
First of all a disclaimer: despite being a teenager for much of the 1980s, I didn’t see my favourite film of the 1980s in the 1980s. Instead, I needed Quentin Tarantino to tip me the wink in the wake of the release of Reservoir Dogs in 1992, when he deliriously sang the praises of the film’s director and his gangster epic. “When Brian De Palma would come out with a new movie, the whole first two weeks before the movie opened, I would count down the days,” said QT. “That week before Scarface opened, that was Scarface Week.”

My own Scarface week came soon after, when I eventually tracked down a secondhand VHS tape of the movie and I could finally say hello to my little Cuban friend. And I must have watched it nearly half a dozen times (I took Sunday off). Al Pacino’s hammy performance as Tony Montana – “You fuck with me, you fuckin’ with the best” – is a glorious over-the-top riot of violence, Hawaiian shirts, Giorgio Moroder synth sounds and piles and piles and piles of cocaine. Oliver Stone, who wrote the script that included 207 uses of the word “fuck”, admitted he had been a coke addict for two years before sitting down to write the story (“Scarface was me taking my revenge on that drug,” Stone said) of a Marielito who arrives in Miami from the gutters of Havana with the intention of going “right to the top”.

In its depiction of 1980s pop culture, inelegantly wasted lives and hardcore excess, it is untouchable (if De Palma fans can pardon the pun). Plus, it had one of the best movie posters ever. If I could order you to watch this film, I would… but as Tony Montana would say: “The only thing in this world that gives orders is balls.” Preach.



Posted by Geoff at 8:00 PM CDT
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Friday, June 19, 2020
'I TAKE THE SCARFACE PACINO & THE GODFATHER BRANDO'
"MIX IT UP IN A TANK & GET A ROBOT COMMANDO" - NEW BOB DYLAN OUT TODAY
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/roughandrowdyways2.jpg

Today sees the release of Bob Dylan's Rough And Rowdy Ways. The album's third track, "My Own Version Of You," sees the narrator creating a sort of Frankenstein creature out of parts and people that include the fictional title characters from Scarface (specifically, the Al Pacino version) and The Godfather:
Well, it must be the winter of my discontent
I wish you'd've taken me with you wherever you went
They talk all night and they talk all day
Not for a minute do I believe anything they say
I'm gon' bring someone to life, someone I've never seen
You know what I mean, you know exactly what I mean

I'll take the Scarface Pacino and The Godfather Brando
Mix it up in a tank and get a robot commando
If I do it upright and put the head on straight
I'll be saved by the creature that I create

I'll get blood from a cactus, gunpowder from ice
I don't gamble with cards and I don't shoot no dice
If you look at my face with your sightless eyes
Can you cross your heart and hope to die?
I'll bring someone to life, someone for real
Someone who feels the way that I feel


(Thanks to Carsten!)

Posted by Geoff at 8:16 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, June 19, 2020 8:16 AM CDT
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Thursday, June 18, 2020
KOEPP - 'I ALWAYS FELT BRIAN AND I WERE ALLIES'
VIDEO - DISCUSSES WORKING ON 'MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE' SCRIPT OPPOSITE ROBERT TOWNE

Early on in the Collider Connected video above, Drew Taylor asks David Koepp about the films he made with Brian De Palma in the 1990s:
Drew Taylor: Brian De Palma recently talked about how Mission: Impossible and Carlito's Way were the highlights of his career. And I want to know what you're experience was on these movies, and sort of what your take was.

Koepp: They were great. Brian and I have stayed close friends ever since. He lives just a couple miles away. We have socially-distanced coffee from time to time.

They were turbulent. Of the three movies I did with Brian, the only peaceful one was Snake Eyes. But I think the other two are stronger films, in part because of the chaos and fighting and friction. You know, the old expression, "Bad experience, good film. Good experience, bad film." So, I mean, I loved them. They were really fun, and even though there was fighting, I always felt Brian and I were allies. Even when he fired me-- had to fire me and rehire me-- on Mission: Impossible. He just the other day said, "You know, I think I was the first person to ever fire you." Yeah, Brian, you know [laughs], so what?!? You came back, didn't ya? But they were great experiences, yeah.

Drew: In the documentary, he talks about how you and Robert Towne were in different hotel rooms in the same hotel, working on different drafts of Mission: Impossible. [Laughing] Did you know there was a guy next door working on the same...

Koepp: Yeah, they didn't put us in the same hotel, actually. He was in the Dorchester, I was in the old Hyde Park Hotel, which is now the Mandarin. But yeah, it was really stressy. Once the movie got up and running, or once Paramount greenlit it, Tom got rather anxious, and wanted to bring Towne in to work on it. And then Towne came in, and Brian didn't want-- [Koepp throws his hands in the air] yeah, there was a lot of fighting. And then Towne came in and threw all the pages up in the air. And things stayed quite chaotic. And then three weeks before shooting, they said, "Will you come back... you know, try and put it all back together. But Bob's going to keep working, and you're going to keep working, and we'll just figure out what we shoot." I was like, "Okay... this oughta be interesting."

Drew: Has there ever been a situation where the movie was just too chaotic, or the script was in such disrepair, that you said, "I can't do this"?

Koepp: You know, I've always been able to find an appropriate moment to leave, if I needed to leave. I never had a dramatic leaving. I think, sometimes... and I think I've gotten better at it as I've gotten older. John Kamps and I wrote Zathura, that Jon Favreau directed, and Favreau really wanted to take a pass at it himself. We didn't want him to, so it seemed to make sense to leave, and, you know, let him do that. Which I think he was about to implement anyway, so, you know, [laughing] I'm not sure if I had walked out or was shoved. It's fine, I guess. You know, you gotta sometimes take your own shot at stuff. I didn't want to let that go, because it had a lot of my two sons in it. So it was a lot of personal stuff. I didn't want to leave it to somebody else. So, I think I probably threw a hissy fit on the phone as I left.

Other than that, you kind of know when you're time is up on a movie. Because usually if you get fired, or quit, it's not because people are unpleasant. It's because you're out of ideas. Or your ideas are just not jelling with theirs.


Koepp's new thriller, You Should Have Left, hits V.O.D. tomorrow.

Posted by Geoff at 11:50 PM CDT
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Wednesday, June 17, 2020
PAUL HIRSCH ONLINE MASTERCLASS THURSDAY NIGHT
CLICK IMAGE BELOW TO JOIN DGC ONTARIO ZOOM CLOUD MEETING, JUNE 18, 7PM EASTERN
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/hirschmasterclass2.jpg

Posted by Geoff at 7:04 PM CDT
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Tuesday, June 16, 2020
FLASHBACK - STEVE VINEBERG ON 'MISSION TO MARS'
THE LAYERING OF TIME AS JIM WATCHES VIDEO HAS "AMAZING EMOTIONAL RESONANCE", LINKS WITH 'THE FURY'
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/m2mvid1.jpg

Since it's a Mission To Mars kind of year, I happened upon this Critics At Large article from 2013, in which Steve Vineberg reassesses Mission To Mars as a "Neglected Gem." Here's an excerpt:
When I saw Brian De Palma’s Mission to Mars in 2000 with a heckling, pre-release audience, I didn’t think much of it. A year later, though, the American Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria screened it on a double bill with The Fury as part of a month-long De Palma retrospective, and a group of former students who took me out there to see The Fury persuaded me to stay and take a second look at Mission to Mars. Perhaps it was the juxtaposition of the two movies that made me look at Mission to Mars with new eyes, but the second time around I fell in love with it. The Fury has an almost insane narrative, but it’s a work of such visual inventiveness and emotional potency that, if you connect with it, the story is no obstacle; its excesses serve the movie just as equally ridiculous stories serve Jacobean tragedies and nineteenth-century operas. And though Mission to Mars has a much simpler silly plot, it too is a kind of outline – you might say a metaphor – for De Palma’s ideas about the tension between technology and humanity and the nature of loss, his two favorite subjects.

The movie is actually about two missions to Mars, occurring a quarter-century into the millennium and a year apart. The first, involving a bicultural crew (Americans and Russians), falls to pieces when, having established themselves on the apparently unpopulated planet, they come across a structure in the crimson sand that responds to their attempts to penetrate it with an explosion that buries three of the four astronauts, sparing only Luke Graham (Don Cheadle). Earth loses contact with Luke; his comrades back home don’t know what’s happened to him or his crewmates. So they send another group up, a rescue mission, made up of Phil Ohlmyer (Jerry O’Connell), a young computer hot dog, and Luke’s three best friends, whom he trained with – a married couple, Woody Blake (Tim Robbins) and Terri Fisher (Connie Nielsen), and Jim McConnell (Gary Sinise), who would have manned the first trip with his wife if she hadn’t suddenly taken ill and wasted away from cancer. Derailed by the tragedy, Jim lost his place in the hierarchy. Now Woody and Terri persuade their boss (Armin Mueller-Stahl) to reinstate him, and he winds up in space along with them. But their vehicle crashes and Woody is an indirect casualty of the crash. The others land on Mars, where they find Luke, living alone in his space station and so haunted by ghosts that at first he assumes Jim is one, too. And they find the structure that swallowed up his crewmates. Seen from the air, it’s an exquisite sculpture of a smiling face.

The key to gaining access to the face in the sand, it turns out, is the crew’s ability to furnish proof that they’re human. Mission to Mars is a space story, but it’s the anti-2001: A Space Odyssey. In De Palma’s Blow Out, the hero (John Travolta) keeps making the mistake of putting his faith in technology; so, on a smaller scale, does the teenage boy (Keith Gordon) in Dressed to Kill who’s trying to track down his mother’s killer. For these characters, technology is at best inadequate to achieve the (human, emotional) ends they want to put it at the service of; at worst it backfires and results in the deaths of the people they care about. By the time Mission to Mars takes place, technology is inescapably the ruling force, but De Palma uses the fact of all this technology, ironically, as a way of focusing on the human dilemmas that beset the people who have to deal with its inadequacy and its capacity for bringing disaster. Science has found a way for the astronauts to float through space without the benefit of a space capsule, but only for limited amounts of time, i.e., only as long as the oxygen in the tanks strapped to their backs holds out. When Woody is unable to harness the drifting capsule after the rest of the spaceship has crashed, he finds he hasn’t enough oxygen left to return to his companions. Terri insists she should float out to rescue him – a futile act that would end up killing both of them. So Woody pulls off his helmet and meets the lethal pressure of Mars’s atmosphere head-on, an act of self-sacrifice that comes out of his love for his wife. The separation of husband and wife plays off one of the movie’s most ecstatic visual moments, when they dance together to a Motown tune in the gravity-free atmosphere of the spaceship en route to Mars. But De Palma fans will also recognize his trademark image – the character who watches in helpless anguish while someone, usually a loved one, is destroyed before his or her eyes – from The Fury, Dressed to Kill, Blow Out, Casualties of War and Mission: Impossible. Woody’s demise may be the most strangely poetic version yet of a motif that amounts to an obsession: Robbins’s face turns, magnificently, to cracked granite.

The tragedy that divides Woody and Terri echoes, of course, the loss of Jim’s wife Maggie, whom we see only once, in a video (played, touchingly, by Kim Delaney) their friends prepared when they were chosen to helm the Mars mission. Jim watches it on a monitor in the ship when he winds up traveling there without her. It’s a double-time frame sequence – the video contains images from this joyous time interspersed with earlier ones from the McConnells’ wedding. I might not have made this connection had I not just rewatched The Fury, but the visual dynamic of an image embedded within another image and two sets of observers recalls the scenes in that movie where Amy Irving is caught in a psychic link with a besieged Andrew Stevens while someone else – who can’t see what she sees – tries to communicate with her. This is a visual notion with amazing emotional resonance for these stories of loss. In The Fury, Irving’s Gillian longs to meet the boy who shares her freakish psychic gifts; her separation from him, except in these imperiled visions she has no power to alter, underscores her isolation from the rest of the world, from the people she loves who don’t share her abilities. And when she finally does get close to him, it’s too late: he’s already destroyed. The video that brings Jim’s wife back to him, if only for a few minutes, is a trick of technology that is finally just a reminder of the uncrossable distance between them. He can replay this moment of happiness and relive not only his loss but also his bafflement: here they are at the peak of their lives together, anticipating a future that, though neither knows it, will never come to pass. In the video Maggie makes a toast to them standing at the threshold of a new world, but mere months later she was sick and he stood on the threshold of life and death, watching the most important person in his life fading away from him. De Palma gets at this idea in another way, too. The transmissions the first Mars crew sends back to earth have a twenty-minute delay. Back at home, Jim and the others watch as Luke and his companions, full of good humor and optimism, light a candle in a slab of cake to honor Jim’s birthday before setting out across the sand to explore the structure. The NASA observers have no way of knowing that even while they’re watching this transmission, twenty minutes after Luke sends it, his crew is being torn apart.



Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 17, 2020 12:07 AM CDT
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Monday, June 15, 2020
'PHANTOM' TRADING CARDS, FICTIONAL SPIN-OFFS, ETC.
"BEEF MEETS THE PHANTOM OF THE PARK" AND MORE FROM UNLOVELY FRANKENSTEIN
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/phantomtradingcards2.jpg

At Unlovely Frankenstein, Wallace McBride has several terrific-looking Phantom Of The Paradise themed prints and trading cards going on. "The Phantom of the Paradise deserved better," McBride states in the trading card pack description. "And not just Winslow Leach ... the entire damn movie. It was a box office bomb that, unlike some of its musical contemporaries, didn't quickly pick up a cult following. The Phantom of the Paradise Cult developed at a glacial pace, moving so slowly as to never really developing much in the way of ephemeral merch. So I wanted to see how trading cards for the film might have looked had they been released in 1974 by a well-meaning (but oblivious) bubble gum company." The trading cards include a reverse-side puzzle, and the wrapper has a bit in the fold: "New! DEATH RECORDS Special Magazine offer: 'BEEF MEETS THE PHANTOM OF THE PARK'"

To that end, McBride also has several Phantom Of The Paradise prints available on the site, including one for the fictional "Beef Meets The Phantom Of The Park." Definitely worth checking out.


Posted by Geoff at 8:09 AM CDT
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Saturday, June 13, 2020
'SCARFACE' IS A MORALITY TALE, PLAIN & SIMPLE
"DO NOT BE LIKE TONY" SAYS BACK-COUNTRY POPULIST
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/scarfacedown.jpg

"Brian De Palma’s Scarface is lightning in a bottle," states Sealgair MacUistain in this week's Thursday film review at Back-Country Populist. "It is a film that resonated immediately with the conscience and subconscious of the American audience and still accomplishes the same today. With a killer soundtrack that captures the merry and vapid decadence of the 1980’s, first rate camera work from De Palma and crew (seriously, De Palma is extremely good at visual story telling. He is technically sound.), and a tour de force of acting and story telling, Scarface is consistently ranked among the best of not only crime films, but films in general."

In his review, MacUistain states upfront that while Scarface "is a totally secular movie that has nothing ostensibly to do with Christianity," he will proceed to use the film to explore "the great modern American heresy" that being a good person will get you to heaven. "Bottom line up front: being likable, or 'a good person', or 'nice' is not what saves you," MacUistain explains. "You are still broken and in need of salvation outside of yourself. If you rely on yourself alone, you will perish."

Delving into the character of Tony Montana, MacUistain writes:

People are wont to admire Tony Montana’s rise to power and his “heroic” last stand. His hard work, can-do attitude, and confidence inspire a lot of people. Tony feels that he and other hard working people are getting played by the real crooks who are at the top of the pyramid. At first glance, Tony Montana is absolutely someone to admire.

That is, of course, until you realize that all of his decisions led him to being shot dozens of times and floating face down in a pool of his own blood. Additionally, he has killed or driven away anyone who ever cared about him.

Tony Montana has many admirable attributes. He is incredibly smart, hard working, enterprising, charismatic, loyal, and charming. However, he uses those talents improperly, to say the least. Speaking of talents, I do believe there is a passage of scripture related to this. Why don’t you go ahead and open up the Good Book to Luke 19:11-17 and read the Parable of the Talents? How did Tony use his talents? His mother disowns him. He kills his best friend because he fell in love with his sister. He gets his sister killed after ruining her life and Tony probably suffers from some sort of malformed sexual attraction to his sister. His wife leaves him. His allies all turn on him. Every friend and employee he has is brutally killed. Yes, you went mighty wrong there Tony!

Despite all of his talents, he is not moral. He is not virtuous. “What? Sealgair you hack! You don’t think the attributes of hard work, loyalty, charisma, and devotion are moral? You’re a fraud! I’m going to write about you in the comments about how wrong and stupid you are!”

Comment away, my hypothetical friend! Let me also point out to you that those traits, admirable though they may be, do not equate to morality nor virtue. Hitler was hard working and devoted. Ted Bundy was charismatic. Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino had a damn sixteen pack, admirable as that is. None of that makes those fellows virtuous or moral. None of those traits mean anything if they are not used for an objective good. You are either on the wide path to destruction, floating around caring only about yourself, or you are on the narrow path oriented to Christ. Tony, obviously, is a selfish and loathsome irredeemable person on the wide path toward destruction.

Scarface is a morality tale. It is a cautionary tale. It is very plain and simple. Do not be like Tony.


After looking at the selfish ways Tony Montana relates to his wife, his mother, his sister, and his best friend, MacUistain continues:
But wait! Tony has a code! He refuses to kill children! And that is what really triggers his demise! Well, you are on the right track, but that is not really the whole story. Yes, it is true that Tony (correctly, and indeed morally) refuses to kill children. He was about to willingly assassinate a dude dedicating his life to stopping the plague of drugs, but he refused to go through with the assassination because children would have been caught in the cross hairs. Look, if the standard we use for “good dude” is comprised solely of “he does not kill children” then we have a lot of work to do as a society.

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Sunday, June 14, 2020 7:07 PM CDT
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Wednesday, June 10, 2020
JUNE 10, 2020
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/dominojunelamod.jpg

Posted by Geoff at 12:19 AM CDT
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Tuesday, June 9, 2020
JUNE 9, 2020
https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma/m2mjunecompletelamod.jpg

Posted by Geoff at 12:05 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, June 9, 2020 1:52 AM CDT
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