June 27, 2011 § 1 Comment
Whenever I go to West Plains for an Audio Theatre Workshop, I enter “radio silence” for the most part; except for a few phone calls and e-mails, I’m too busy to do anything else! Lack of sleep and audio drama usually go hand-in-hand at the ATW, with breakfast at 8pm, classes from 10am – 1:45pm and 2:30pm to 4:00pm, rehearsals in late afternoon and evening round tables, not to mention location recordings, SFX uploads for the MetroMobile truck and sampler artists, and work with the band on individual tracks…and that’s just Monday through Wednesday! Thursday’s the all-day cue-to-cue, and Friday’s show has not one but two separate recordings beforethe live show and stream in case of tech glitches or the damn train runs through town or whatever. Both Elaine Lee and I are home again home again, me in Monterey, she in High Falls…it’s common practice to spend a day doing nothing after the event ends, so I’ll assume she’s getting much needed sleep even as I continue downloading all 80 hours of my Firesign Theatre treasure trove of “Dear Friends” material.
This year’s ATW was a hoot-and-a-half; it was especially gratifying being able to stream JM DeMatteis into one of our rehearsals via Skype, and to know (after his play was performed) that he enjoyed hearing his work on radio and online; likewise Elaine had a great time, and to hang with Phil Proctor and Melinda Peterson…well, a lot of friendships were renewed, and great new ones were made.
With another ATW done and done for the year, it’s back to business, and quite a bit of it in the next couple of weeks. But before we go any further, I’d like to say a few words (just a few, I promise) about legendary artist Gene Colan, who passed away on Friday. And a few words about his wife Adrienne, as well; although she passed away last year…well, what I have to say involves them both, and I really can’t talk about one without the other.
I’ve mentioned Gene numerous times in this blog, for those of who’ve been keeping track; technically speaking, the very first AudioComics outing was the audio-style reading of Starstruck in Big Sur in 2009, partly in preparation for the 2010 recording, and partly to raise funds to alleviate “Gentleman Gene’s” rising medical costs. Prior to this, I had had several e-mail exchanges with his late wife Adrienne, who was handling Gene’s online store. I had bought some prints from them when I found out about his health issues; Adrienne wanted to know a little more about me, which was kind of cool and a little surprising; I mentioned I’m an actor (or specifically out-of-work actor) and about working in audio, and she responded with a wonderful e-mail about how she and Gene loved actors, and later how Gene enjoyed hearing old time radio as he worked on commissions. I decided to surprise them with a CD of the audio plays I produced under the old Play it by Ear banner; something for Gene to hear while recovering. Apparently he loved them. My thinking was, buying some prints wasn’t enough; I had experienced a short period of my life where I too was without health insurance, and to buy some prints just didn’t seem like enough to help them out. Hence the Big Sur event. Gene personally e-mailed me to thank me and the cast for everything.
I know that there will be many tributes in the days and weeks to come. Gene Colan will go down in comics history as one of the masters of the medium, of light and shadow, as (to many) the definitive Daredevil and Iron Man and Dracula artist…hell, I was a big fan of his Nathaniel Dusk and Night Force series for DC. But I’ll remember Gene and his loving wife Adrienne as something else. Two really, really nice people.
Finally, I direct you to the blog of one of Gene’s closest friends, the one and only Clifford Meth, who is establishing a scholarship in Gene’s name at the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art. If you’re interested in making a donation, more information can be found here: http://bit.ly/ipARUI.
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:
April 24, 2010 § 1 Comment
We here at AudioComics are fans of “Gentleman Gene” Colan; Play it by Ear Productions did a very successful and fun benefit for him last year. For those of you who have been under a rock of late, Gene was injured last week, and several pieces of art disappeared from his home. He is in the hospital with a broken shoulder, but is apparently on the mend. This is good news. The bad news is that he won’t be able to do any art for at least three months, and will need (understandably) physical therapy for at least as long.
So, the ever-awesome Clifford Meth is arranging an auction of items to pay for bills of all kinds, from therapists’ to groceries. Mike Deodato, Harlan Ellison, Mark Evanier, Stan Lee, Bill Messner-Loebs, Tom Palmer, Walter Simonson, Marv Wolfman and Michael Moorcock are those donating signed items or art. There are some great items available (Lance wants more than a few of ‘em); go check it out at http://www.genecolan.blogspot.com/ and put down a bid (rules for bidding are at the site).
August 13, 2009 Comments Off
Starstruck: a Benefit for “Gentleman Gene” Colan at The Henry Miller Library, Big Sur. The original off-Broadway sci-fantasy comedy, and basis for the Elaine Lee/Michael Kaluta comic book series, presented for the first time in 25 years!
Saturday, August 15: 6:30pm reception, 7:30pm performance. $12.80 advance admission, $20.00 at the door. Silent auction! Libations! United Federation of Freedom Fighters! www.henrymiller.org to make reservations.
Featuring Lance Roger Axt, Victoria Blaszczak, Arden Eaton, Renee Infelise, Ami-Sue Lawless, David Manchel, Geoff Mutch, Barbara Smythe, and Jennie Tezak, with Lance Roger Axt, Rob Eaton, and David Manchel on SFX. Special guests: Elaine Lee (Starstruck‘s creator) and painter Lee Moyer (colorist of the new series from IDW Publishing).
Lance here: tonight is the second-to-last rehearsal for the show; artwork has arrived that I will be piecing together for a digital slideshow behind the actors; just received the extra mic stands from Musician’s Friend; Lee Moyer is on his way to Monterey (hey, that rhymes), Elaine leaves tomorrow or early Friday from NY, and we’re expecting a few actors from Starstruck past. Friday is printing-and-folding-programs day, and Saturday at 11am it’s off to Big Sur to meet up with friends old and new. And on the seventh day, I will
rest freakin’ collapse.
Unfortunately the good vibes are tinged with the unfortunate news that Gene Colan was hospitalized again early this morning, this time with pneumonia, never a good thing for a man of Gene’s age. According to the most recent blog post from friend/writer Clifford Meth (sent by Gene’s wife Adrienne) he is on antibiotics to fight a nasty blood infection, but is apparently in good spirits. Reports from other sources said that he should be well enough to leave late tonight or early tomorrow, but by all accounts he might be there a little longer. Do me a favor and send some good energy his way. We’d certainly like to see him around a little while longer. Like, another decade.