Roger Ebert’s death yesterday caught me by total surprise. I did not realize his Tuesday column was, in essence, his farewell.
I will try to write a tribute or an essay of some kind. But for now, I will save his one-of-a-kind 2011 TED Talk. To hear him “speak” of saying his last words and not realizing it was his last spoken words, is heartbreaking.
Let’s forgo the klunky introduction and jump right into the mix. Playwright Crystal Skillman‘s play, GEEK!, opened on March 21, 2013, at St. Mark’s Church 131 East 10th Street, 2nd Floor, and runs through April 13. Tickets can be bought here. She is so great to interview and covers so much ground, nothing more needs to be said.
Oh, OK, if you insist, here’s the official play description:
“With pissed-off Pikachus, steam punk armies, stood-up Sailor Moons and roller-blading monsters on the prowl, it’s easy to get lost in the Inferno-esque anime convention where the fans, the otakus, and the geeks prowl. But to score a rare signature from their comic book idol, teenage outcasts Dayna and Honey will take on obsessive magic players, Jedis and elfs, cosplayers and convention guards – through all nine flights of Ohio’s Dante’s Fire-Con – to get a chance to shake hands with their pop-culture hero.”
Tim O’Shea: Was there a certain con experience in particular that inspired this play?
Crystal Skillman: Yes! About three years ago Fred and I were at the Miami Super Comic Con. We’d been to many cons together – I love being his girl friday and taking photos of him signing and being a booth babe and all. But I adore checking out each convention and how different they all are too. I feel like at each one you’re seeing who has come in, but also those who live in the area – one of the great joys is seeing Fred meet fans from all over. The Miami con was quite big and sprawled over three levels each clearly designated to comics, anime and gameplay. It was held in an interesting space full of nooks and crannies more than other cons I’d been too. While Fred was signing at the booth, I began taking photographs that began to truly inspire me. As I captured the awkward beautiful vulnerability and tenacity and just spunk of these cos-players, coupled with the experience of watching fans for so many years coming to Fred’s table being so affected, I strongly felt there is a play here. A play the explored and celebrated fandom. The play, as crazy fun as it is, became more and more personal reflecting my own Geek past, that has so inspired and affected by whole life (for example I’m the kinda gal that made my mom drive me to school, before I could drive, to avoid being made fun of on the schoolbus ), suddenly kicked into high gear. I wanted to write a play that was poppy, fun and which captured the con experience, but truthful to the struggle all Geeks have to find who they connect with and who they are.
With the exception of The New Yorker coverage, this CBS Sunday Morning piece likely is the most in-depth and insightful coverage I have seen Brendan O’Connell receive.
Really happy for him, obviously. And after this post, I really need to work on getting some non-O’Connell posts on here before he accuses me of stalking him. Congrats again, Brendan.
It was reported earlier this week that Everyartist not only met its goal, it exceeded the goal by $10,000.
Congrats to Brendan O’Connell and the Everyartist team.
I am sure someone I have interviewed in the past has appeared on The Colbert Report, but this is the first time to my knowledge I interviewed someone before they appeared on the show.
Also, according to the Kickstarter website, O’Connell is slated to appear in an upcoming People magazine, and an episode of CBS Sunday Morning.
Let’s see if I can make the crossplatform opportunity benefit the blog.
February 27 is going to be a great day for writer Adam Szymkowicz for two reasons. First up, previews will start on the Pipeline Theater Company production of his clown noir play, Clown Bar (February 27 & 28 at 8PM) at the Parkside Lounge (317 E. Houston St., New York, NY) before starting a run of Fridays & Saturdays at 9PM performances from March 1 – March 23, 2013.
Secondly, the first episode of the Szymkowicz-written web series, Compulsive Love, will premiere on February 27. Compulsive Love has the great tag line of “A show about a man being punched in the face by love and the women wearing the brass knuckles.” In this interview, we discuss both projects.
Tim O’Shea: Am I correct in thinking that Clown Bar is partially a musical? Did you always envision the project having music?
Adam Szymkowicz: It has four songs in it. There is a character who is the singer in the bar and he sings all the songs. Sometimes I like to put one or two songs in my shows, though I can’t say why this play has four songs in it except to say it always did.
As promised, here is the direct link to Everyartist’s Kickstarter, which has launched.
Before you donate to the Kickstarter, you will likely ask–where is my money going to be utilized? Here’s the plan:
“In 2013, Everyartist will create a national, collaborative art event that engages elementary school children across the country – the largest art event in history.
We’re raising money to launch and facilitate this national collaborative art event. Included in this is building a downloadable kit that will make it easy for parents and teachers to register and become local event coordinators. The kit includes instructions for staging an event, group lesson plans with the rudimentary elements of drawing designed by a professional art educator adaptable to every age group, stickers and other incentives for the participating children, and a press release that can be shared with local media.
We can bootstrap this event for $30,000, but the more money we raise, the greater our impact will be and the more kids we can reach. We need your support!”
This interview has been a long time coming. I have been wanting to interview professional artist Brendan O’Connell for years. O’Connell and I went to high school together–and thanks to social media, we got back in touch with each other back around 2007 or so. I have covered him here a few times at the blog. While most of this interview is focused on O’Connell’s work, O’Connell and I finally got together to talk because of his latest educational and artistic endeavor, Everyartist. O’Connell is one of the founding partners of Everyartist.
“In 2013, Everyartist will create a national, collaborative art event that engages elementary school children across the country – the largest art event in history. Our platform of events, digital content/tools and retail products empowers ArtTeachers, ArtMoms and ArtAngels to spark and sustain the creativity inside every ArtKid.”