Process: Writing (From The Archive)

As narcissistic as it is, I revere my love of preserving and archiving my work. Not only is it a vital resource for improving my work (I cringe and laugh at some of my glaring typos from my early days of blogging), it helps me to recognize my growth and acheivement whilst wallowing in the constant cycle that is a variation of a theme. 

I have many times proclaimed that 2007 was the best year of my life and it was also the year that changed my life in so many big ways as it was the beginning of my realization that there was something bigger on the horizon and that my constant plights in my tragic flaw of ambition needed to be thinned out a bit; I was swallowing down more than I could chew up. 

It can be a very healthy exercise for a writer to review their old work – for the aforementioned reasons and otherwise. With my most recent bout of “Am I good enough?” versus “Am I too good?” that all writers (should) face intermittently, this old Live Journal entry helped me put things into a different perspective in relation to my current disposition in trying to focus solely on writing and leave all the other worlds I’ve created behind (as much as I possibly can). It’s also nice to have a giggle about the not so far off history of technology and social media.


Monday, April 9, 2007 – 1:49pm


“I don’t think my marriage could stand me having any more extra-curricular activities!”



The title quote is too appropriate for this entry. while reading another’s journal I wondered what it was, what it is, that keeps his relationship together. and then, i read the aforementioned.

was it 4 years ago that i started this livejournal? 

i used to have a lot more time in my life. for me at least. now, things have changed, mostly for the better, which we all know doesn’t fuel my writing as well as all the maladies do. besides, there’s myspace now.

ugh. i’m exhausted basically. since moving in with rob, i have lost so many hours a month. not just from the responsibility of the relationship, but the intense commute i’ve gotten myself into, again.

i’d like to say or not say that everything is going swimmingly. i’ve taken up yet another quasi-career in attempt to be a well-faceted artist. i started sewing and now i’m a full fledged designer. i took it up in the first place so i’ll never have to depend on someone else to help with costumes for my shows, but now it has turned into this all-out awe-inspiring thing. i’m creating these incredible clothes and it’s totally happening by accident. i’m just basically starting from scratch and teaching myself how to do everything, so…

besides that, spring has sprung. i started taking a writing on dance class at dance theatre workshop, which has me traveling to new york once a week. initially i thought it would be a good idea to hone my writing skills (i love classes anyway), because i got hired for this gay interest online magazine and i haven’t contributed anything yet. i’d like to focus on dance, but i can write about anything, as long as it’s gay.

i am also doing an official show for the philadelphia live arts festival. i’ve been planning shows at bars with this urban hipster. i’ve been still submitting paintings to several exhibition opportunities. still starting a nonprofit company (i applied and got approved for pro bon legal service and will be incorporating as a non profit sometime by the end of the year). i still have a loose attachment to the peek-a-boo. i’ve started working out again. i’ve started reading erica jong novels again. and most of all, i’m working at this library which i love, but it is so tremendously time consuming and stressful. and there’s this guy…

this guy is a scorpio. it’s a big issue, so much that i can barely even speak about it.

i’m getting to the point in the relationship where i am constantly riddled with guilt for not contributing enough time, energy or money to our relationship (the one i have with my boyfriend). i’m not as young as i once was, so my sexual artillery (while still potent and very effective) isn’t my best weapon so much anymore, i’m too uninterested and never in the mood. then there’s my wit, which always reminds them why they’re with me in the first place, but sometimes my bitterness just usurps everything.

i’ve been very flirty lately with new guys and old ones. but i’ve always been a flirt. for the first time i am genuinely attracted to someone who is not my boyfriend. i shouldn’t be talking about this.

i guess on one hand, i’m a very loyal, devoted capricorn…on the other, i’m amiss a quarter-life crisis and i’m letting my ambition get in the way of most everything else. the most precious thing in my life, that i’ve longed for so much for as long as i can remember, is taking a backseat to everything else.

i thought that being attracted to 40 year old men would inspire some type of contentment. someone who has seen and heard a lot more than most. a man who can suck it up and not be phased by bullshit or jealousy. nope. 

i forget how awesome i am (and they are, i guess) and the consumption just eludes me.

but i’m a journalist and a painter and a choreographer and a writer and a director and a musician and a fashion designer and a administrative coordinator and a creative director and a filmmaker and an urban hipster.

could it be that since i’ve become so unattainable that the roles have reversed?

i know that living in the suburbs is not for me. i’m a stubborn little bitch and i like my way the way i like it. some how i seem to get it most of the time.

i’m struggling a little bit right now because i don’t know for certain what it is that i want.

i do want that scorpio to go away though. he’s big big trouble.



Film Still from a rehearsal of “Human Error” performed at the 2007 Philadelphia Live Arts & Fringe Festival

List: Stalking

I’ve tried all 50 ways (and then some) to leave my lover and I know every step I take he’ll be watching me. 

List making is usually a comforting and stress-relieving activity for me but today it is ripping my entrails apart. For legal purposes, I must make several lists in regards to activities that have transpired over the past 2 years about my ex-lover who has taken up a grand crusade of stalking after my much lamented history of trying to escape his domestic abuse (physical and otherwise). 



There is no button I can press to “block” him (as so many doctors, lawyers, therapists, police officers, friends, and family members have suggested) as proven in this list of devices he has used to try and communicate with me. 

1. Email # 1

2. Email # 2

3. Facebook

4. Instagram

5. Twitter

6. Vimeo

7. Kik

8. Whatsapp

9. Gayromeo

10. Bareback City

11. Nasty Kink Pigs

12. Chem Pigs

13. Dudesnude

14. GoChat

15. Viber

16. Recon

17. Youtube

18. Tumblr

19. Cellphone # 1 (SMS and Calls)

20. Cellphone # 2 (SMS and Calls)

21. Skype

22. Blogger

23. Live in Person



I use a lot of social media as a primary resource for my work as an artist – I would be a helpless and hopeless Satirist if I were to change any of the courses of my normal daily activities – that, as defined by law (in Germany and USA) is the primary function of stalking: to interrupt the opportunity for another person to live a normal life. 

Why Berlin.

If you come to and stay in Berlin for more than two minutes you will be blitzkrieg’d with the question “Why Berlin?” almost daily. To combat this I usually tout the adage “The same reason as everyone else,” that couldn’t be any closer to the truth – but I’ve complied a list of responses I’ve spat out or forgot to mention otherwise.

1. I wanted to move to Europe – Berlin is an international city that is central in Europe and cheap enough to survive.

2. I like the history of an ongoing artistic renaissance. There are more artists in Berlin than businessmen.

3. I’ve been doing a lot of WWII and Black European History research and I am developing work in regards to minority diaspora.

4. I like the cold, hard architecture.

5. There are a lot of people just like me back home on the east coast – I have a unique edge here.

6. I wanted to expand my artistic experience and broaden my market.

7. All I did in the USA was work – I did not live my life. I wanted to focus on being an artist and enjoy my life more.

8. I’m addicted to Germans.

9. I have a lot of sociopolitical issues with the US…I wanted to see how the other half lives.

10. I’m an artist.


Obligatory Jewish Memorial Photo taken during my first trip to Berlin – October 2009.


11.  I was tired of being ostracized, oppressed and discriminated against by my own people – I took a chance at the opposite.

12. I wanted to live in a place where I was not a part of the majority minority.

13. Back home I was too popular. I wanted to escape to a place of autonomy.

14a. The beginning of the demise of my long-term relationship began in Europe – I wanted to start off where I ended it all.

14b. I thought that I would find my proverbial Knight in Shining Armor in Europe, with an accent.

15. I like that wine and beer are cheaper than water, but still people are much more dignified about drinking.

16. After my first visit, I could not imagine living in a place where I cannot drink publicly.

17. The Berlin Winter is so dark and lonely – it is for me the best time and mood for me to write.

18. I needed to have the not so fabled sexual evolution that so many people come to Berlin to experience.

19. I wanted to release myself from all of the other gay-related stigmas that are rampant in the USA.

20. I wanted to wear whatever I wanted, so be it if I look like a smacked ass – and not be yelled at by strangers.

21. In Berlin, everyone goes to see art, not just the higher and lower end of the class divide – culture is important here.

22. The political system eludes me.

23. (Initially) I thought Berlin was a world-class city, gentrification has since destroyed that dream.

24. You can buy a month’s worth of groceries for about 30 Euro.

25. The transportation system is amazing (though much less affordable than it was in 2009). Nonetheless it is a bike city.

26. Obesity is something that really bothers me in America – it is not such a common and vivid issue in Europe.

27. Socialism allows a mellower social playing field. Materialism and superficiality are not welcome in Berlin.

28. People are tough and mean, like back home in Philly. But it doesn’t smell as bad here. I love to hate and hate to love it here.

29. There’s just something about Germans. They are impossible and alluring and so meticulous about sex.

30. At my last job two people that I was very close to died. It was impossible to continue on without them.

31. I was burnt out from the 3 houses, the husband, the cat/dog, the 3 jobs, trying to finish my degree. I almost died.

32. There is much more concern about global issues rather than global domination (i.e. recycling, public health, urban planning).

33. Berlin is the place where Christopher Isherwood got most of his inspiration.

34. I am inspired every single day. All I need to do is walk outside. The city is vast and beautiful and strange.

35. With Berlin, it was love at first sight.


Excerpt: Novel


It is an affectation of mine to personify cities as they have such an astounding effect on me. I ended up here in Berlin because of Paris – the first place I visited outside of the USA. Now that I am approaching my third year in Berlin, I am thinking of my inaugural debut in Europe and how that sexy town is indelibly etched into my memory though I have not been there since January of 2012, that coincidentally is the last time I left Berlin. I miss Paris dearly, like an old jilted lover who I had a harrowing and meaningful one night stand with. Now that I am having relationships woes with Berlin, I am on a desperate hunt to find either some semblance of closure with alluring and elusive Paris, or return back to my first love.


Here is an excerpt from a novel I’ve been working on for too long that attests to this disposition. 



3. New

            When Josephine Baker arrived in Paris for the very fist time she said, “I want to seduce the whole capitol.” I was feeling the same way just over three weeks ago when I saw the first glimpses of gay Paris out of the taxi window. The driver was busing himself with a map, a cigarette, and putting on and taking off his sunglasses repeatedly, as well as constantly changing the radio station until he found just the right out dated song to play. Chumbawumba I think it was. My first impressions of Paris were cliché, but of course. At first I noticed the Parisian’s fashionable eyewear, accessories and clothing (respectively). It was easy to recognize the tourists apart from the locals, it was something unspoken about the way they looked. As if they were art installations and not actual people.

            When we pulled up to the Rue de something or other (I’m better with Spanish, sorry) I knew that we were downtown, in the 3rd or 5th, and that the name of the district was called Marais but I kept defiantly pronouncing it mah-rise because I never liked the language and was frustrated it was something I couldn’t grasp the concept of.  To me, French is one of those languages that always sounds better in song, unlike Romanian, which is just the opposite. Having binged on Spanish for so long throughout school and from working in restaurants, I am familiar enough with Italian but still would rather learn Japanese or German before taking up French. I did little research about the geography and culture of Paris, France before the trip even though it was my first voyage to Europe. I figured it would be a true adventure to venture into the unknown, as if it were going to be this great life changing experience. Really though, my expectations weren’t that high. I’m just romantic like that.

            I went to Paris as a vacation with my beau and to meet up with friends, two of which were celebrating their anniversary (Tom and Peter) and two others who were sharing their birthdays (Matt and Don).  The former have been together since quarter till forever, and Matt and Don are in one of those security blanket type relationships where they are best friends with benefits, the benefit being they can fuck whoever they want and still have someone to do relationship stuff with without having to worry about their sex lives ever going stale. Everyone seemed to be in happy agreement, as many well-established gay relationships tend to be. Michael, my beau, couldn’t manage to get off the entire 10 days, so he met up with us for the last 6 days, just in time for Matt and Don’s birthday.

            We rented an apartment that was located above a café (wasn’t everything?) and adjacent to several churches and shops of varying retailers from cheese to high fashion footwear. It is hard to describe the vivid features of the building, it took no time at all to succumb to the monotone, pale gray and beige materials used throughout the downtown district as seen from afar and up close, with intermittent splashes of reds adorning some of the doors. Swirls of bronze and marble also come to mind, but the general visual allure of Paris, for me at least, was how well organized and cohesive the design of the architecture seemed to be. Besides that, the loud hum of the city distracted the mind from paying attention to such details although details showed themselves in very big ways. The first walk alone around the block getting into the apartment after seeing the centuries old statues, monuments and gardens, I was already overwhelmed. 

            We were on the top floor and were warned several times beforehand by the landlord, but we didn’t mind, we thought it would be worth the views alone. I was last to arrive due to my east coast bad ass mentality of thinking that it was not just for me to have to wait in line for a taxi. Of course I eventually relented and adhered to the order that Europeans shocked me with and I was reminded that I was on vacation. 

            The apartment seemed very lived in. The living room and dining room were rather large.  The living room had a leather loveseat and lounge chairs, both of which were worn but in good enough shape to not care, we were it Paris! There was a decadent marble fireplace in the center of the space, various illustrations and paintings on the walls, the modern media amenities, several French doors leading out to the balcony, and many red, black, white and blue rugs I would come to see quite often by the end of the trip. All of the dining room walls were covered with bookshelves except for one, which of course had another French door leading out to the wrap around balcony, boasting splendid views of downtown Paris, and the north facing Montramontre.  I was immediately drawn to the bookshelves as I found a place for my bags, not too concerned with who had already arrived although I heard various voices coming from every corner of this new, temporary home of mine.  There were several types of books but mostly they were tourist books and French history books. There were several dime store paper back novels and I immersed myself in reading their spines, my head tilted, straining and squinting my eyes, trying to see what good and bad taste the habitants had before me.  There were a few books in Spanish, several in French and a few in Italian and German. Most were in English, and shockingly, my eyes caught wind of a collection of Emily Dickinson poems. I delicately removed it from its non in-order place and read the inscription:

            For Mary, the best and the worst thing to ever happen to me. –J

            Suddenly I was being hugged, kissed and greeted verbally by Tom (1/2 of the couple) and Matt (1/2 of the birthday fuck buddies). They were asking me how my flight was and how much I loved Paris and if I have seen the view yet and I became even more whelmed.  Soon we were out on the terrace, pointing at the Pompidou, the Eiffel Tower, and other buildings I will never be able to spell and/or pronounce.  It was all very refreshing to see a new metropolis, a new place, new people, new smells, new food and of course, old friends. As much as this was my new chance to make a first impression, another chapter in the art of my life, a new opportunity to be new, it was at that moment that I realized I missed Philly already.

(c) Louis DeVaughn Nelson – 2014

Not Really Looking

With the continuing theme in the current modern age of technology, my coined phrase “Keeping in Touch Without Touching” seems to becoming more augmented in the most negative way. With the advent of HBO’s new show Looking, I can’t help the bile that is rising from the onslought of perpetuating stereotypes of homosexual culture. While there is much to be said for me in the way of “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem…” I couldn’t help but to try out this new gay chat/hook-up app or whatever that claims it is “an online, mobile community for men who value themselves and other men.”

Here’s a taste of the first part of my exposure to this -



I’ll give you more results in the coming weeks. 

Self = Portraits…part five

As I begin to organize too many ideas for the next film for my “Self = Portraits” series, I took some time and updated some details of the artistic process involved with the past segments.

You can see the previous postings in regards to the initial films here:

Self = Portraits…part one
Self = Portraits…part two
Self = Portraits…part three
Self = Portraits…part four

40. Era

The title of this film harkens the adage “end of an era” in that the location was the scene of an apartment that was turned into a fetish studio and owned by my ex-lover who is the subject of many of the previous videos. On this day, the fetish studio had become officially defunct and I was participating in helping to clean it out and move all of the furniture out. It was one of the worst days of my life – not because of the sadness of losing the haven, but because I spent all day fighting with the man due to his complete lack of order and disorganization aligned with his extreme anger management and control issues. I was happy that the place was being altogether eliminated from his life – this sleaze den had been the source of so many disasters in his life that I was trying to cope with. In some way I thought that this was the first step in helping him to escape the darker side of Berlin, and in turn, realize some sort of a possible reality for the both of us.

41. Stress

This was one of the first videos that I used a real SLR digital camera – a departure from my more voyeuristic POV use of my iphone or Macbook Pro. It was the camera of my photographer friend and I was not yet acclimated with the control functions on the equipment. The superimposed heat sensory function was a happy accident – as this video was a depiction of some ailments caused by the increasing stress levels in my life. I used a cue from one of my favorite songs, “Forever” by Juliana Hatfield as the medium. In the lyrics she compares the love of cigarettes to the love of another person. I used my unyielding loathing of rolling cigarettes juxtaposed with their necessity in regards to stress as a point of reference for this one.

42. Immigrant

Because this film has been so well received and was another notch on the bed post of successful entries into a competition (premiered at the 2013 Berlin Music Video Awards) – I will let this one speak for itself.

43. Alone

Music, Coffee, Cigarettes. Repeat…This became some sort of solace for me during this time when I made a trek back to the first café where I met the most acquaintance during my first sojourn to Berlin in 2009. I had since left visiting the place since I worked there for 2 days in what could only be described as a Typical Non-Paid Berlin Debacle. Another happy accident in this film (I started shooting with my laptop camera with unexpected results) was when the waiter/bartender touched my face. It was a direct statement about my longing to disconnect due to superficial connections readily available in this town – to be alone in a town of loners is not easy when there is a superfluous amount of unwanted advances.

44. Time

This film was all about simple theater crafts and props. I wanted to give the viewer the aspect of an outer-body experience. Here I am wearing a shirt that was a “joke gift” that depicts a rather off-color remark not only about my age, but my racial identity:  “Ich bin 27” – and “Schwarze Dose” respectively. With my male pattern baldness and the obvious continuing theme of chaos/control…this film represents an inside look into some of my biggest fears and my ever increasing tumultuous love affair with Berlin itself. Missing from the lyrics from the song used in this clip: “I looked at your wall, saw that old passport photograph – I look like I just jumped the Berlin wall. Berlin, I love you – I’m starting to fade…”

45. Moving

I wanted to make a film that is analogous to typisch Berliner verhalten. Here I am on a Sunday morning performing one of my favorite pastime rituals: going to Viktoria Luise Platz in Schöneberg (a place I once deemed my denkenplatz) that most times during the weekends resembles a human zoo.

For more insight about my affinity for this park: Berlin Stories – Viktoria Luise Platz

46. Staying

This film is noted as “Dedicated to Rob” who is my former longtime ex-boyfriend from the states who I had a 7 year relationship with. The red handkerchief appears in this film (as it does in many other videos and art works of mine) – and it is an enduring token of my memory of him as it is one of the only things that I own that used to belong to him. The “staying” is apropos to the fact that this was one of the first times that I found a place to stay for a long bout of time after a treacherous entry into homelessness that started in January of 2013 due mostly in part to the annals of my abusive relationship with the aforementioned lover (the topic of many of my other films) and the then current status of a rather inappropriate living situation with a typical Berlin artist, and the loss of my job. Here, my traveling suitcase appears as a sort of time capsule in my continuing sojourn in Europe, containing artifacts of departure and arrival. I reveal myself naked for the first time in a comfortable way – rather in some of the ways of my daunting past. It is a reclaiming of myself and my body that was a pivotal necessity during this time.

47. Slide

Reference to Sisyphus is a common theme in a lot of my works. Here it is no different.

48. Banana 2

At this point in my life I was having a little bit of artistic block in regards to these self-portraits because I was truly starting to feel that my time in Berlin was up, that I had accomplished more than I could ever have imagined, that if I stayed things would get progressively worse, and that it was time to move on. I decided that I was going to go back to my first initial videos and make an effort to restyle them in a way to correlate the past with my present and ultimately, my future. The very first film that I made of the series took place in Philadelphia when I was making plans to come to Berlin in 2011. Here is the reincarnation of the film that started this whole thing, which notably, was the first film that was screened here in Berlin and started to ignite my passion for video art which became my primary source of acclaim and accolades here.

49. Arbeit 2

Continuing the sequel theme to my previous videos – this one is more of filler than anything with not much more to say than: 20 Euro, 3 Hots and a Cot…this was what I had to pay.

50. Acting 3

In the summer of 2013 I somehow found myself with a center stage front row seat look into the entrails of the fashion world during Berlin Fashion Week. I was initially volunteering for the Berlin Fashion Week Film Festival in which I did get to help out with, but after the first day of orientation and set-up, the designer Charlie Le Mindu solicited me to be one of the models/assistants for his fashion show that was to be featured during the festival event. I still have not written about that whirlwind experience, but it’s on my list! This film is more about some of the continuing themes in the self-portrait series…here you can see my delving into vanity in order to be accepted in an outward facing profession (as seen in my earlier films where I am getting my hair professionally shaved to meet the standards of an acting job). Also of note is the song choice as well as how I edited in (rather than out) a peculiar sense of paranoia that was brewing at the time due to the looming situation with my ex-lover that around this time had turned into an extreme case of stalking and abuse.

51. Travel

Heavily influenced by my experiences with Berlin Fashion Week and my inspired interest in fashion film – I wanted to make something really DeVo that had a certain edgy humor to it that goes back to my burlesque roots; as in most of my work, there is some element of burlesque and satire. Here, the device is the reverse striptease. Of course the music plays a big part – as Rufus Wainwright is one of my biggest idols, and the lyrics of the song replicate some of my attitudes of having been brought up in a pretty nomadic life. Traveling is something that I crave and loathe and I have grown quite accustomed to.

52. Werewolf

This is probably the hardest film for me to watch.

3 months went by before I settled long enough to make this portrait. That time was spent tending to the trials of The Summer of my Discontent in which I had many experiences ranging a plethora of velocities and feelings. I grew a big assed beard, had several nervous breakdowns and somehow ended up falling in love again. This time, the love would be too good to be true, and in a typical fashion, due to my pending recovery from the abusive relationship prior, I was not able to offer any reciprocity for the affections offered.  The proverbial destitution of humanity that is indicative of Berlin and its history that I witnessed that summer has changed me forever – some for the good, some not so much. I learned a lot about what I wanted in life and what I did not want and many relationships were melded, strengthened and destroyed altogether during this time. I say sometimes that my skin is very thick, but it was around this time that I had grown a second skin of sorts, and it became my armor against any further attacks to my psyche, knowing full well that things would be getting much more difficult in my future before they got better – especially in the ways of love and romance.

I used the backwards stop motion technique here in a very jarring way. I HATE the sound of my voice, no mater how much I’m always singing when drunk – and the choppiness of it all disturbs me to no end. But I think I got my point across with this beast.

53. Yours

I will never claim to be an angel or a victim. I know I cause damage because of the erotic allure of my exotic demeanor. This is me in the state of succumbing to this curse.

54. Ophelia

I really wholly, honestly and truly thought this was going to be the very last work of art I ever made…

55. Indentured

This film encapsulates my entire overall domestic experience as a foreign immigrant in Berlin. All X-rated shenanigans, professional tidbits, and personal relationships aside, this speaks directly about the state of my daily “world” as it pertains to my survival during most of 2013. Longer than most of my films in the series (I usually try to keep them around one minute in length), I knew that this work might be used as an entry for competitions or exhibitions, so I really wanted to make something that was really really DeVo to the umpteenth degree including that kind of lulling dramatic quality, the harsh unorthodox editing, the unexpected surprise, the voyeur/exhibitionist aspect, and of course, some burlesque. It was a chore going through all the footage and a true test of my patience as I had well over an hour of footage to edit for this one. I am really proud of the result.

56. Kontrolle

The shaving thing again. It is always a visceral, almost cathartic process for me – and along with the cigarettes and the striptease and the climbing mountains, this process is heavily documented because it is something that is completely therapeutic for me. Since the inception of my bigger than life beard that started during The Summer of my Discontent, I decided that since the beard was so crazy (and admittedly, so not DeVo), that I would shave it when and only when my life started to progress in the way that I needed it to, as some semblance of reward for my progress. This was the first time I had trimmed my beard in months and it was a very painful and proud moment for me as I have grown quite attached to the thing.

What Can We Learn From Swiss Cheese Guy?

DeVo Nelson:

Amen, Sister!

Originally posted on Sex with Timaree:

A few years ago, I was one of the many young women who received a message from the now infamous Swiss Cheese Guy. Basically, every young female I knew who was on OKCupid in the Philadelphia region heard from cheese

He had a template for contacting women: sending dick pics (with cheese, of course) and asking, somewhat slavishly, if we were interested in indulging him. His profile was entirely devoted to his fetish, describing his predilection and featuring pictures of his voluminous midsection and dairy merkin.

We giggled about it, made plenty of awful puns. What else were we supposed to do? It was certainly better than taking it as a personal offense, sitting there feeling impotently violated by the virtual intrusion of his wiener. The guy clearly had a desire to be degraded and humiliated- it had mentioned something of that in his profile- but was also engaging compulsively…

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