A hatchback slams. The door of a van rolls shut. Brakes squeal. Horns blare. Two cars nearly collide backing up at once. An obscene gesture. "¡Hijo de puta!" An elderly man drives off afraid. Exhaust mingles with the stench of rubbish from a barrel that hasn't been emptied and the odor of grease from the fryer at Burger Boy.
Welcome to Lot C.
Empty and bleak at 2 AM. Mayhem on Saturday afternoon. "Littering, loitering, skateboarding, ball playing, soliciting, overnight parking PROHIBITED," says the sign. "Video surveillance in use." "Management assumes no responsibility." A discarded Orange Julius cup bears the imprint of the tire that flattened it. A half finished box of Karmelkorn sits on the curb. Nobody lingers here—nobody stands around except to smoke a cigarette on her ten minute break. This is the place to park and lock. The place where couples quarrel, kids squirm and wail, and single moms make sure the car seat is buckled just right. Want some advice? Remember your row. Don't leave packages in plain sight. Report suspicious activity. Cross traffic does not stop.
Longing for something that turns you around completely? That captivates instead of seduces? That inspires instead of distracts? This is merchandise outside the box. No fads. No gimmicks. No cards to swipe. No points to redeem. Not even Green Stamps. Dignity and freedom don't carry stickers that say Made in China when you turn them upside down. Purpose and love can't be found at a "2 for 1 Pre-Clearance Blowout." Longing for clarity, insight, something more than hype and hypocrisy? Something meaningful that lasts? Somebody who understands? A way out of the emptiness and loneliness? Or just a way out?
Welcome to Lot C Media.
Nobody imagined the palace would crumble someday. It had a shelf life, an expiration date.
Just like we do.
Lot C was once a dairy farm, surrounded by fields covered with goldenrod in the spring and unblemished snow in the winter, before the subdivisions sprang up. Nobody remembers that. Green turned into grey. Asphalt. Curbs. Parking spaces. Guardrails. Overpasses. High tension lines. Tomorrow's community—today. Sprawl was visionary, space age. One thing's for sure—time is never kind and rarely gentile. What isn't dead is dying. Some blame the new regional mall that opened near the Interstate, others the low income housing. A few mention toxic waste and shrug. It's hard to believe now, but this place once beckoned, gleamed. We weren't zombies, just innocent. Shopping was about promises, possibilities. The cradle of modern identity. The altar of hopes and dreams. Everyone recalls the Christmas decorations and the crowds. The model train exhibit. Dad browsing the Craftsman tools. Mom in notions. A hand to hold until we were big enough to wander and then to roam. The Food Court. Aladdin's Castle. First dates. Prom dresses. Chess King. The first paycheck. The lure of something—everything—just around the corner.
The clearance sale went on for a month at Woolco before the shelves were empty, and the lights went out for good. Ditto for a dozen other chains whose names are still visible as outlines in the stucco and cement even after the signs are gone. Down a yellow corridor where nobody goes there's an office with a dusty frame hanging on the wall. An aerial photo. "Grand Opening, Labor Day, 1971." Faded clippings from a newspaper decades out of date. Air conditioned comfort. A movie theater with three screens! A Brunswick bowling alley that was planned but never built. The Auto Center at Monkey Wards became a flea market with plastic statues of the Virgin and música ranchera. The vast expanse of pavement packed with station wagons and family sedans is now empty except for the weeds growing in the cracks. Grey turning green again. Lot C changed; things always do. We did too, except where it counts the most.
We couldn't see it then. It's too damn obvious now.
None of this was built to last.
None of us will leave a trace.
Original fiction that bleeds.
Stark and uncompromising stories of ordinary lives where hope is elusive and despair relentless.
Stories of everyday life written by and for those who live it.
Stories that propel the reader from spectator to participant, from witness to accomplice, that dissolve the boundary between observer and observed, between self and other, between imagination and real life.
Stories that roam the interior, speak the unspoken, expose the unseen, revealing the power of the past to define and determine the present, telling the truth from the inside out.
Stories that leverage the limits of the possible, engaging the problem of humanity at its core, exploring the oldest lament, tragically always new—"If only I had a second chance."
Stories that invite reflection. And incite response.
This is not entertainment.
This is resurrection.
Bold as a pastor preaching a sermon through a bullhorn, earnest as a convert passing out faded tracts on a street corner in the cold, Lot C Media annoys and offends the thin skinned, the cynical, and the certain, idealists and pessimists alike.
This is a dark and bumpy ride that takes the shopper far from her comfort zone, that jumps the curbs, aims straight for the pot holes, accelerates at the speed bumps, and does "Crazy-Eights" outside Merchandise Pick-Up.
Perhaps, when the time is right, we'll play chicken with the man in the white car with the flashing light on top.
After all, he's a fan too!
Lot C Media is a creative initiative working at the intersection of art, ministry, and therapy.
Lot C Media reaches people who’ve given up on everything but self destruction, inspiring them to grow in ways they never imagined and change in ways they never thought they could.
Who makes art?
Only those who have to.
Because nothing else works.
Art is the confession of those who survived.
A pot-smoking grandma raising the little ones, because their mom's in jail—again.
An accounts payable temp with dreams and determination.
A motel night clerk with two years sobriety.
A wannabe hipster for whom fake is no longer an option.
A skeptic turned minister facing the ultimate test.
A disillusioned professional for whom cash is no longer king.
A soccer mom with a past she cannot forget.
A tech geek whose gadgets are the perfect cover.
A trend obsessed fashionista who dares to peek behind the mask.
A twenty-something. A forty-something. A fifty-something. A seventy-something.
They have one thing in common.
In telling their stories, they hope to change yours.
These are the stories of men and women in today's world. Bored. Lonely. Exhausted. Lost. Longing for something real. Something that lasts. Something more than vanity, hype, scandal, novelty, escape. Sure, materialism keeps the economy going, but what does it do to your soul? Dignity? Freedom? Purpose? Love? Do those things matter anymore? Do they even exist?
Vulgar and sentimental. Controversial and relevant. Frank. Candid. No holds barred. Lot C Media punches holes in walls, violates boundaries, and talks about things that matter like no one else can. Here, it gets real. Here, honesty detonates, and sham and pretense are the first casualties. Here, truth is a chisel pounded into cracks in the cement. Here, a torrent of tears takes one to the brink where anything is possible. These stories resonate like nothing else out there.
This is content that makes a difference.
Shout it out the window.
Scrawl it on the wall.
Tattoo it over your heart.
This is content that changes your life.
What if we told you we weren't trying to sell you anything?
Would you buy it?
Across a patch of asphalt lies a catch basin for run off surrounded by a chain link fence. Pasted along the horizon almost in silhouette, tract houses in cul de sacs languish. Tomorrow's Community—today. Once upon a time it gleamed. Even the dirt was shiny and new. Manicured shrubs, swing sets from Sears, patio furniture from Penny's, basketball hoops tacked above open garage doors, Country Squire station wagons, Kingsford charcoal briquettes, "rec rooms," Hot Wheels, Barbie, GI Joe—relics! Overgrown, weed-filled yards, empty pools, and the occasional shattered window have taken their place. "For Sale" signs stand where kids' bikes once lay in the grass. Dreams took root here; desires unfolded. Possibilities met limits, and something had to give. Someone had to lose. There are times in our lives when anything seems possible, but we know it rarely is. That only comes out later. What is Lot C? Allegory? Allusion? Metaphor? Icon? All of the above. To see what is and what will be, you need a vantage point. YOU ARE HERE.
Not a charity. Not a scheme. Not a product or program. Lot C Media employs no one and sells nothing. There's no business model associated with this endeavor. No attempt at monetization. No appeal for donations. No pay-pal link. Nothing to join. Nothing to buy. No solicitation. No fundraising. No request for referrals. No merchandise, not even a lousy tee shirt. The list goes on, but you get the point. The actual cost of maintaining the site is negligible. Maybe that's a big mistake, but like every one we've ever made, it seems like the right thing to do at the moment. It let's us focus on the message.
Want to participate? Collaborate? Lose your identity in a purpose larger than yourself? Stand on a streetcorner selling plastic flowers for a dime?
In the time it takes to ride the escalator from the Upper Level to the Lower, to wait in line at Sbarro or Panda Express, to get the kids to settle down, to arrange your bags on the empty chair, to update your status on Facebook—in the time it takes to do the things you think you must because you think they matter—200 children die across the world, sometimes on the floor in a corner, sometimes in a parent's arms, and almost always from treatable or preventable conditions like dehydration and malnutrition.
Initially, this Food Court was intended as a spoof, a caricature, a clever send up of mall culture, but this is no laughing matter.
Fourteen kids a minute. 21,000 a day.
In the time it takes to ring up a shopping cart full of items at the supermarket...
In the time it takes to order and consume a Big Mac, fries, and a Coke...
In the time it takes to drive to the gym, park your car, and work off some of those excess calories on the elliptical or the treadmill...
You do the math. Do it any way you want. Then do something about the problem.
Get informed. Understand your role in this. Like it or not, our choices contribute to hunger and death. Our gluttony. Their misery. That's simplistic, sure, but none the less true.
You didn't choose this, I know. You're a good person. Maybe. But your choices have consequences, always have, always will.
We can do better.
In the kingdom of consumption, the citizen is king. A democratic monarchy: equality before consumption, fraternity in consumption, and freedom through consumption. (Raoul Vaneigem)
The Kingdom of God is not just pie in the sky bye and bye—it starts here and now in how we see ourselves and how we treat each other, in what we seek and what we avoid, in what we allow and what we reject, in what we assume and what we deny. (Karl Stern)
It would be nursing a great illusion if the man of our times were to think that... he had no further need of religion. ...[T]he existence of religion has been interpreted as a psychological phenomenon associated with the childhood of mankind. At its maximum when civilization is beginning, it should gradually fade away, giving place to more positive constructions, from which God would be excluded. In reality... the great conflict from which we have escaped will only consolidate in the world the necessity of faith. Having reached a higher degree of self-mastery, the Spirit of Earth will experience an increasingly vital need to adore; out of universal evolution God emerges in our consciousness as greater and more necessary than ever. (Teilhard de Chardin, Building the Earth, 1965)
I know what I am talking about when I am talking about the revolution. The people who read the books go to the people who can't read the books, the poor people, and say, "We have to have a change." So, the poor people make the change, ah? And then, the people who read the books, they all sit around the big polished tables, and they talk and talk and talk and eat and eat and eat, eh? But what has happened to the poor people? They're dead! That's your revolution. Shhh... So, please, don't tell me about revolutions! And what happens afterwards? The same fucking thing starts all over again! (Juan Miranda)
Society is a carnivorous flower. (Scrawled on wall, Paris, May 1968.)
Comments, criticisms, reflections, suggestions. Holler at Us—we're listening. We WON'T ask you to donate money, purchase products, refer friends, or otherwise try to exploit you or annoy you. We try hard to protect your E-mail address from harvesting by spammers.
Like sprawl everywhere, Lot C goes on and on, and there's no stopping it. Traffic jams. Construction. Irate drivers. Kids whining in the back seat. Too much to take in all at once? New Channels / New Features is a great place to start. Top Picks is another.
In the meantime, ENJOY THE RIDE!
Everybody's got an agenda. Here's ours.
Not Sold in Stores. Not Seen on TV.
Reflecting on life and what happens in it, Lot C Media showcases the creative output of an informal group of individuals with diverse backgrounds and circumstances who choose art as a means to reach others and make a difference beyond the digital domain.
We believe art can be a catalyst for change—not political change—personal growth. Transformation. Changing what's on the inside—what one values and how one sees things. We believe art can cultivate insight, the awareness that accompanies maturity.
Lot C Media doesn't reach out—it reaches in. Lot C Media invites the visitor to see herself as valuable in spite of everything that convinces her otherwise, to see her life as more than a sideshow, an accident, a dead end, a trap, a cage.
These are your stories, and Lot C Media is just one place to tell them. It's NOT Hallmark. No pat formula that make you feel good while the meds put you to sleep. The script is in your gut, and where it goes from there is up to you. The lines can be changed. The plot is up for grabs. The ending has yet to be be written.
Deconstruct this! Lot C Media is a bunch of files on a server in some nameless, faceless, soulless office park underneath a flight path. Cooling fans hum. Fluorescent light flicker. Anything else is what you make it out to be.
Lot C Media is all this and more.
Lot C Media INVITES you
Why? Because it might change your life completely if you let it. It might give you the one thing that would make all the difference in the world—a second chance.
And now the twenty dollar version.
Lot C Media constitutes a virtual laboratory that contrives and perfects techniques to reach a mainstream audience distracted and desensitized by over-stimulation, craving meaning but avoiding depth, and handicapped by short attention spans and self-absorption.
Lot C Media lacerates the defenses, moving the visitor to explore and adopt alternatives to commercial, secular viewpoints, opposing the stranglehold of materialism, positivism, and humanism on contemporary society.
Lot C Media is an agent of personal and cultural transformation via a novel ministry that merges realism with imagination, striking a chord where it counts the most, cultivating insight, promoting growth, inviting reexamination, urging exploration, facilitating the change of heart the lies behind every change of values and character.
Debts of gratitude.
Lot C Media is built with
And that's basically it.
Lot C Media is hosted on Amazon's Simple Storage Service. Cheap. Fast. Reliable. Takes a little bit of know-how, but if we did it, you can too!
Principal photography by Sönke Böttger and Rachelle Cook. Music by Kevin MacLeod. Website design and maintenance by Wallace Heller.
Submissions belong to those who contribute them and are reproduced here with their permission. Please ask for permission to reproduce these works elsewhere.
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What if you could change your life completely?
Inside and out.
Your surroundings and your soul.
Would you try?
Who would stop you?
What would stand in the way?
What do you have to gain or lose, today? In a year? Or five?
What price would you be willing to pay to get it right—before it's over?
What would it take to feel brand new?
What is it worth?
What if you could change your life completely?
Would you try?