April 24, 2011 § 1 Comment
Well, it’s been a week. I am fried, basted, roasted, and cooked to perfection. Bill is dealing with some family issues right now in RI, but I know he was pretty zonked upon his return to Portland. The same applied to everybody in the Starstruck crew come last Sunday night, but the concept of “sleep” is not one that you normally associate with a sci-fi convention.
As I sit here in front of my PC I’m going through the busy weekend in my head, which started with meeting up with Bill Dufris during our stopover in Philadelphia the day before I-CON. I always find that arriving anywhere a day early is a smart move; traveling is tiring enough as it is, but when you’re moving through different time zones, having that good night’s sleep three hours ahead or behind is good for the body. Off to the Hilton Garden Inn, where we were staying for the weekend instead of the “official hotel” of I-CON due to a screw-up, the Holiday Inn a few blocks up, for dinner and an early night’s sleep (well early for me; Bill was scoring a non-fiction novel for a forthcoming audio book recording). I will say that staying at the Hilton was actually a better deal: fewer I-CON’ers meant a quiet night’s sleep!
Up late the next morning to meet Elaine Lee and, for the first time, the illustrious illustrator Michael Wm. Kaluta, where we played catch-up, organized our schedules and those of our actors, off to Stony Brook U. by 3pm to register our gold “Guest” badges, get the lay of the land (including the all-important Green Room…”food, glorious food”…), and set up our table…which winds up being in a different building from everywhere else, but hey, grin and bear it; we put out our compact discs (complete with a cool stand made by Elaine), and copies of the recently-released Starstruck Collected Edition, and issues of Elaine’s Honey West mini-series and Chicks in Capes prose book (both from Moonstone), and Bill and I sat and watched as attendees slooowly trickled in (one of the downsides to being in residence at a school still in session: no one can get in before 5:00pm) while Elaine and Michael are running from panel to panel (fortunately all in the same building). Which pretty much takes out doing any kind of technical run-through Friday! “Saturday morning at 11am” is not going to work, as the I-CON organizers discover to their chagrin. So we watch the attendees, say it with me now, slooowly trickle in… That is, until 10pm when Bill and I pack up the table and head over to the campus radio station to appear on the annual “Mystery Guest special” on the long-running sci-fi radio show in radio “Destinies,” hosted by our Narrator Dr. Howard Margolin.
The show was free-form “plug-away” fun with (for the first time) I-CON’s author guest of honor, in this case horror legend and all-around-cool guy Joe Lansdale; his daughter, author and country singer Kasey Lansdale; Neil Levin, publisher of Dark Quest Books; Glenn Hauman of ComicMix; author Aaron Rosenberg; from Joe’s forthcoming film Christmas with the Dead, actor Damien Maffei and SFX artist Marcus Cook; and making a record-tying 23rd appearance on the show, writer Keith R.A. DeCandido. Totally made up for the four hours before it!
So, it’s 12:15am; Michael is patiently waiting in the cold for us to take him back to his hotel in Elaine’s car…and for the second time that day we get lost heading back to the hotels. How is it humanly possible to get that lost on what should be three stretches of road? Boggles the mind. Anyway…
Three-and-a-half hours of sleep later we’re up getting ready for a business breakfast with two pulp writers we’ll be working with very closely over the next year or so, and then its off to Stony Brook to set up our simple sound system and rehearse for the first time with all of our actors; we knew the first show would be the technical run-through with Murphy’s Law in full effect. Well, apparently Mr. Murphy decided to f*** with one of the CD players, which died for good at the end of the performance. After a Q & A session with some serious Starstruck fans (take that, obnoxious anime cosplayers!), we retreated to the Green Room for a needed lunch break (note: almost every time I was in there I ran into Julie Benz from Dexter and No Ordinary Family…was the universe telling me something? Yeah, it’s telling me “every time you’re in there you’ll run into Julie Benz from Dexter and No Ordinary Family and that’s it”) and to work out plans for the 5:30pm show…which aside from that one annoying Pokemon girl going in and out and in and out, worked out far better. Well, somewhat better, let’s be honest.
I have to admit, despite the fact that some of our actors had no voice-over experience and simply wanted to be a part of the “Starstruck: Running Scared” experience, they had a very good sense of timing, were ready for anything thrown at them, and most importantly, had a lot of heart. So we want to give a big shout out to Denise, Brennan, and Dr. Margolin, but also to Jaime Andrews, Angelica Pasquini, and Jessica Rionero of Pink Axe, Jenna Hellmuth, Thomas Kyle Fiorello, “Captain Zorikh” Lequidre, Josh Rubino, and Arielle Somerville, and of course to Mike Kaluta!
Anyway, after the show its pouring rain (and I mean monsoon). Nobody was really up for the banquet, so Bill and I, Denise, Elaine, Brennan, and Elaine’s hubby Richmond found a great Italian place and chilled (Michael headed back to the Holiday Inn for a early night’s sleep) over big bowls of pasta and bottles of wine, before heading back for an actual night’s sleep, before one last day of I-CON panels, a chance to check out the Dealer Room (apparently very few sales were made, so I feel a little bit better…not by much, but y’know), meet a few famous faces, and get lost again while heading back to the Hilton.
Well, let’s start out with two announcements, both of which were made on Howard Margolin’s radio show Friday night: first off, Bill and I are thrilled to announce that The AudioComics Company is a trio again, as Elaine Lee, the co-creator of Starstruck, is joining us as a Producer. Her marketing ideas, her connections, and her enthusiasm makes her a valuable asset to this publishing/production start-up we call AudioComics. Second, we are putting together an Advisory Board of notable notables from the worlds of audio and comics, who can provide us with valuable advice (from “oh, that’s great” to “are you freakin’ crazy?”), and the first name of said Board is the other half of Starstruck, Michael Wm. Kaluta. More names will be announced in the coming months.
Right now the three of us are re-grouping, developing the game plan to push The AudioComics Company forward over the next couple of years, a game plan which involves:
- Re-issuing Starstruckin 2012 through a new worldwide digital distributor;
- The acquisition of a publicist to aid with media press releases within the entertainment industry;
- Development and implementation of an AudioComics application for iPhones and iPads;
- More convention appearances beyond the two planned appearances in 2011 as both exhibitors and performers (presenting everything from readings to fully-produced recordings);
- And, as Starstruck benefits WMPG FM in Portland, selecting several recordings to benefit another not-for-profit, one that has done incredible work on behalf of comic creators-in-need.
And if even half of the connections made with creators that weekend pan out, we’ll be keeping busy through 2014. Over the course of the next week, you can look forward to news up the yin-yang, but for now I leave you with some unfortunate news: the invincible Gene Colan has again been hospitalized. I’ve been reading Cliff Meth’s blog for updates, and apparently a procedure has been planned to alleviate any pain. “To continue generating what might become much-needed funds, we are selling off the last of Gene’s artwork, as well as some books and comics.” There are some great deals at the Gene Colan Garage Sale, and I hope some of you will take advantage of them. The rundown is at http://bit.ly/eS05PF.
Okay okay okay, a few more pics from Long Island: