Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wonderful World

Guess I can check "Be in a movie" off my Bucket List now. I haven't heard from anyone who's seen it, so I could be on the cutting room floor, but Wonderful World with Matthew Broderick premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last night. That's the flick in which I had the opportunity to work as an extra a while back.

(See some coverage of the premiere here or watch the trailer.)

I play a lawyer, so look for me in a courtroom scene. Shaved the beard, kept the mustache, donned a blue suit. Tried to look lawyerly. Had no idea there were magical realism elements though there appear to be in the trailer.

Here's how it happened
This all started because they were filming Stephen King's The Mist in Shreveport, known these days as SoHo - South Hollywood. Thinking it would be cool to pass through a scene in a Stephen King movie, I sent in my head shot and contact information, and didn't get anything.

Life goes on.

Flash forward to months after I forgot about The Mist. I was in Portland, ironically staying at a movie-themed boutique hotel, when I got an e-mail from the casting agency. They'd been trying to call me. While I hadn't been needed for The Mist, or a multitude of Feast sequels, they'd kept my pic on file, and they needed someone who looked like me for a movie with Matthew Broderick, written and directed by Joshua Goldin, who wrote Darkman. It was thus not without fanboy virtues.

The scheduling worked out, so about a week after I returned to Texas, I drove over to Shreveport one Friday evening. It was the last day of filming, so everyone was pulling an all-nighter.

Holding Pattern
I went to the extras holding area, a former guitar store, where they gave me my blue suit to put on, and introduced me to the other "lawyers." Then we sat for a while listening to people who had been in Feast 2 or 3 discussing running frantically from monsters for eight to 10 hours. I also picked up a story that some of the extras in The Mist passed out while wearing haz-mat suits in the Louisiana heat.

Sometimes, fortuity comes disguised as missed opportunity.

Got to know my fellow attorneys while we sat around. One was a professor, one a chaplain and one was in oil and gas. Everybody was pretty much there for the fun of it like I was. One guy had walked Kevin Costner's dog in a street scene in Mr. Brooks. Set in Portland, filmed in Shreveport.

I was wondering if any of the stars would be showing up, when the oil man pointed out a guy wearing a Greek fisherman's cap as James Burton.


"You know, Elvis's James Burton."

Or guitar legend James Burton as the case may be.

"Oh yeah, he used to have really long hair."

Matthew Broderick passed through a little while later to shoot a DVD-extra interview in a back room.

After dinner with the crew served from catering trucks, we went down a couple of doors to Shreveport's courthouse to settle in to courtroom where second or third assistant directors put us in place next to Drew Waters now of Friday Night Lights.

Basically, I got to participate in storytelling in a completely different way than I'm used to, and I got a front row seat to watch Matthew Broderick shoot a major speech. I was kind of surprised at how subdued it seemed. On film, larger than life comes naturally I suppose. Theatricality is for the stage.

I pretty much memorized his speech as they filmed it from different angles, though I'll keep it to myself lest it be a spoiler. Kind of makes me aware of how things were for the judges in say The Cain Mutiny Court Martial on Broadway.

Like, I say, I don't know if I wound up on the cutting room floor or not, but it was loads of fun either way. Since I couldn't make it to the premiere ;-), I'll be watching local listings or waiting for the DVD.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Song Title? Cat's On the Baker's Rack

My cat, Oliver Littlechap, makes himself at home on the baker's rack just off our kitchen.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

What's on the iPod? - M Roundtable at Twilight Blood

The other night, I was fortunate to join John Moore of Twilight Blood and Julie Hoverson of 19 Nocturne Blvd. in a discussion of Fritz Lang's M.

We had a great time dissecting the classic thriller and Peter Lorre's performance as one of the first serial killer's on film.

The discussion is now posted on Twighlight Blood's website, so drop by and listen there or check out Twilight Blood free on iTunes.

It's a very nice weekly podcast with horror news and reviews of books and movies.

John ribs me a little about Gnelfs in the discussion. Copies of Gnelfs can be found used at Abe Books.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Poem Found in a Tweet

With apologies to William Carlos Williams:

Christine's gardening
Left a red wheelbarrow
By the back door.

I'm not sure
what depends on it,
but it looks like rain.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Making of The Apron Pic

I was pleasantly surprised to receive an e-mail the other day from Carole Lanham, The Horror Homemaker, inviting me to join her wonderfully wicked gallery of writers and artists in aprons.

My first thought was to do a quick photo in our kitchen wearing an old apron that my dad used to wear on Saturdays, the one day a week he fixed dinner. Steak and French fries!

Then I realized some cleverness was happening on the gallery page, so I decided I'd better do something a little more than just don the old Hot Tunes/Hot Pans apron.

I asked Christine if she'd participate. She agreed, asking only that I acknowledge that she indulged a whim.

Then I enlisted my buddy, Jeff, photographer extraordinaire. He recently completed his first online photo/Photoshop tutorial on making his girlfriend into a super hero. (It's much better than this one.)

He still had the handy green sheet he'd utilized as a backdrop, so we strung that up, put Christine in a chair and placed my hand strategically.

A few great shots by Jeff later, Phase I was complete.

After dinner, for Phase II, I slipped on the apron, grabbed a few props, and Christine took some shots of me. Selecting one with a slightly-less maniacal expression, I set to work.

Knocking out the green background and making some use of the magnetic lasso tool, I removed Christine's head, then dragged the head as a new layer onto my pic.

With a few tweaks using free transform, I adjusted the size a little. Then I touched up the relatively smooth neckline, so to speak, with a slightly jagged brush acquired long ago from deviantArt.

It was all oddly satisfying in a creative way, though there are far great Photoshop users than I.

The result along with many other fun shots can be viewed at The Apron Hall of Fame. Carole also has an invitation to other writers, so feel free to submit your own. Come on, do it. It's fun.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I Was Zombie When Zombie Wasn't Cool Apparently

Word up is that zombies are all the rage again.

"Zombies are the New Vampires" by Lev Grossman in the new issue of TIME speculates that just as "Night of the Living Dead" symbolically served the Vietnam Era, zombies are now ready to serve our current era of uncertainty.

I've always been fond of zombies, those mumbling shamblers who offer nightmares as they long for brains.

I did a zombie graphic novel for Caliber Press once upon a time. I may have mentioned it here before. I tend to go on that way.

While it tipped the hat to "Night of the Living Dead" zombies, it was really more about voodoo zombies and New Orleans.

It was called "Sirens" because the central villain, Felicity Green, had co-opted voudon for her own, evil ends, and sent young women out to find victims to help her maintain eternal youth.

The hero, Jeff Delmer, encountered one of the "Sirens" and quickly found himself turning into a zombie. The story focused on his efforts to avoid that end. Helping him was a previous victim who wasn't mostly zombie, he was all zombie and shambled through the French Quarter in a floppy hat and trenchcoat to conceal his status.

The artwork by John Drury and Chuck Bordell had a wonderful noir feel., and it's an item on my backlist of which I remain quite proud.

Enjoy a few panels at the right, but don't mess with me. I've got a Creative Commons license.

I almost forgot. The audio drama for which I'm providing my voice is zombie-themed. I am in the midst of zombie. Details on that as they develop.

Addendum II
Apparently at least the second part of Sirens is available on ebay at the moment.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

My Life Counted In Pages Meme Entry

Memes take time so I've been avoiding most of them since the ubiquitous "25 Things," except for the "Which Doctor Who Are You?" quiz, which I took on Facebook. The Tenth Doctor, thank you very much.

"The Life Counted In Pages Meme" on Alan Baxter's blog, which I discovered via his Twitter Tweet about it, looked interesting, however. And, yeah, it looked like an easy way to get a blog post and stay in touch with everyone in the blogosphere. Sooooo here are my answers.

What author do you own the most books by?

Probably Edgar Rice Burroughs because I have most of his series, some inherited from a neighbor many, many moons ago. Ross MacDonald is probably high as well since I own most of the Lew Archer books and have never given any of them up. Ditto Raymond Chandler. Heavy contenders are Koontz and King as well. Then there's Thomas H. Cook whose work I love and respect a lot.

What book do you own the most copies of?

The books I have the most copies of are books I wrote? Need one? We can barter like Tao Lin.

What fictional character are you secretly in love with?

Go with the first answer that pops into your mind right? This is from the '70s - Irma Arden aka Saturn Girl . She was Lightning Lad, or Garth Ranzz's girlfriend--at least back then--in the "Legion of Super Heroes." Lightning Lad was always my favorite Legion member. In the '70s we had similar hairstyles.

What book have you read more than any other?

I'm not big on re-reading books. I have thumbed and re-thumbed Chandler quite a bit, also "Heart of Darkness."

What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?

There was a book called "The Saturday Gang," I liked a lot. I was probably heavily into The Three Investigators books around that time as well. In those days they were Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators. They investigated ghosts and hauntings that usually turned out to be the schemes of evil-doers though they decided Bigfoot might be out there somewhere.

What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year?

I've been reading a lot of respected works for my MFA program. Can't say that I've read a bad one or really even one I didn't like.

What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?

Proably "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" by Haruki Murakami. Intriguing, challenging, imaginative. Great all around. I read Faulkner's "Absalom, Absalom!" for the first time recently as well. Definitely inaccessible yet brilliant and ultimately exciting on an entertainment level. "One Hundred Years of Solitude" by Marquez is another great one that I finished in August.

What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?

"Absalom, Absalom!" would probably qualify. Maybe other works by Faulkner. I've never tackled "Ulysses."

Do you prefer the French or the Russians?

Wow, I'm woefully short on the Russians. I like Dumas, Hugo. Go Musketeers. Go Hunchback. OK the French.

Shakespeare, Milton or Chaucer?

Definitely The Bard. I like "Hamlet," "Macbeth," and "A Comedy of Errors" is one of the funniest pieces ever.

Austen or Eliot?

Austen, I suppose. I rather liked "Clueless."

What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?

I've read a lot of the classics, but there are probably plenty of gaps. Obviously the Russians also.

What is your favorite novel?

That's always a tough one for me. I'm such an eclectic. I like "The Big Sleep," "The Blue Hammer" and Thomas H. Cook's "Breakheart Hill," on the mystery front, Shirley Jackson's "The Haunting of Hill House" and King's "'Salem's Lot," in the horror realm. Also "The Ceremonies." Wayne Sallee's "The Holy Terror." The Faulkner I mentioned and Bradbury in general and "Something Wicked This Way Comes" in particular.William Gibson's "Pattern Recognition." "The Woman in White" by Wilkie Collins.

What is your favorite play?

"Amadaus," I suppose. I saw it on Broadway years ago then read it. Brilliant in many, many ways.

What is your favorite poem?

"The Hollow Men" jumps to mind. So does Frost. "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." Yeah, because of the "Paper Chase" episode. "The Red Wheelbarrow." I'll try to find ya some more and bring 'em to ya.

What is your favorite essay?

"Thirty-Eight Who Saw Murder Didn't Call the Police" by Martin Gansberg about the Kitty Genovese slaying. Read it in a college English class and it's stayed with me. There is another by Orwell about witnessing an execution by hanging. Both are compelling examinations of all of us and our humanity or inhumanity.

What is your favorite short story?

"A Rose For Emily" by Faulkner, "The Light of Other Days" by Bob Shaw, "Grail" By Harlan Ellison. I could go on and on.

What is your favorite non-fiction?

I wish I could recall a piece of poignant, meaningful nonfiction but nothing's surfacing at the moment.

What is your favorite graphic novel?

Pick one of the "Sandman" editions. Brilliant, genius!

What is your favorite science fiction?

Hard to pick a favorite. Maybe "Neuromancer" or Asimov's "Bicentenial Man" novella.

Who is your favorite writer?

Impossible to name just one. Poe, Dickens, Chandler,

Who is the most over rated writer alive today?

It would be kind of crappy to name one. Catch me when I'm not in as good a mood. I will say there are writers who catch on and become very, very popular with people who don't read much. Since these are people who rarely read novels, they read a book by fill-in-the-blank author only because it's what everybody is reading. Then it's pretty good and they think, "This writer is a god." When really the writer they're worshipping is imitating five better books. I could write a whole post about this. Stay tuned.

What are you reading right now?

"Ceremony" by Leslie Marmon Silko. It's for my study of magic realism novels that's part of my MFA work.

Best Memoir?

Do the David Sedaris books count?

Best History?

Shelby Foote's "Civil War

Best mystery or noir?

Chandler and MacDonald as I've mentioned, anything by Jim Thompson plus "The Ice Harvest" by Scott Phillips. John D. MacDonald also.


I'll steal the note I read on Alan's blog to wrap up:

Consider yourself tagged if you’ve read this and like the idea. If you do copy it to your own blog, leave me a comment so that I can come and have a look. And leave any comments with your own answers to any of the questions above if you can’t be bothered to do the whole thing.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

New Fear on Demand Podcast Episode Up

Episode 4 of Fear on Demand is now posted at FearonDemand.com. This month's featured story is from Michael Laimo. It's a cool, ghostly story called Room 412, and it's read by a great reader named Gord McKenzie.

My portion's still not what I want it to be, but it's a little better than before. Guess I'll get there eventually.

Hope everyone who's interested has a chance to give it a listen.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...