Monthly Archives: April 2009

Brian McCarthy on NameShake

Brian McCarthy‘s and Lance Laspina‘s NameShake was something I found out about through The Joke Gym‘s (& Friend of the Blog) Paula Johnson. Pop culture does not normally include iPhone coverage, but the way Paula described it to me seemed to make it a perfect fit for the blog. According to Johnson, NameShake is “an iPhone app that lets you figure out names for your baby. It has a huge database with the meaning of thousands of names. You choose the gender and country of origin you want, shake the iPhone, then see the names … The product has already helped me, but not with a baby … There is also interest from writers who can use the product to name characters.”  My thanks to Johnson for getting me in contact with McCarthy, and my thanks to McCarthy for this email interview.

Tim O’Shea: How did you first come up with the NameShake product?

Brian McCarthy: Well, my wife and I discovered we were pregnant last July. After carting around baby naming books for awhile and suffering the ignominy of numerous paper cuts, I decided there had to be a better way. That’s when I called Lance to ask for his advice and during the conversation we decided to work on this together.

The initial project was much broader but we chose[1] to test the waters by limiting ourselves just to the naming application for the short term. I have to say, we both feel it’s been really worthwhile and hope to do more applications in the future.

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Two New Robot 6 Interviews and A Little Toth Love

On Saturday, I ran an interview with Park Cooper regarding Gun Street Girl at Robot 6. That can be found here.

Then today, I email interviewed Esther Pearl Watson on Unlovable.

And in between, I talked a little bit about what I’m currently reading in terms of sequential art. Fatagraphics’ Blazing Combat features a few stories from the late Alex Toth (as well as many other talented artists).  Who is Toth? Well among his many accomplishments, he’s the fellow that designed the look for Hanna Barbera’s Space Ghost and Super Friends.

William Irwin on the Blackwell Philosophy & Popular Culture Series

William Irwin, Series Editor of The Blackwell Philosophy and Popular Culture Series, has impressed me with the scope of subjects covered with the many books he has edited or co-edited in the series.  I’m even more impressed with his work on the series considering that he also is a Professor of Philosophy at King’s College. The series, which the publisher (Wiley) describes as aiming to show: “that philosophy is relevant to your life – and not just for answering the big questions like “To be or not to be?” but for answering the little questions, ‘To watch or not to watch South Park?’ Thinking deeply about TV, movies, and music doesn’t make you a “complete idiot.” In fact it might make you a philosopher, someone who believes the unexamined life is not worth living and the unexamined cartoon is not worth watching.” I first contacted Irwin to discuss last December 2008’s House and Philosophy: Everybody Lies but the interview ended up exploring a lot more than that. My thanks to Irwin for his time.

Tim O’Shea: Did your association with The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series start with your editing of the Metallica edition in the series?

William Irwin: Actually South Park and Philosophy was the first book to appear in the series. But yes, the first book I actually worked on with Blackwell was Metallica and Philosophy, and it’s my favorite because I’ve been a Metallica fan for nearly 25 years. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 4. It’s nice to see them getting their props, and I hope people will take a look at my book to discover their hidden depth.

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Cecil Castellucci on Beige, Her Creative Process

Cecil Castellucci is a storyteller of many platforms. In a creative sense, she wears a seemingly infinite number of hats–the most apt description of her work can be found at her You Tube channel: “young adult author, Graphic Novel writer, filmmaker, performance artiste and general troublemaker”. Her 2007 Young Adult novel, Beige was released in paperback last month (March) . I caught up with her recently to discuss that novel, as well as the path that has led her to find a new voice as a writer. An interviewer always hopes to get a subject who can be as open and direct as Castellucci, but it happens so rarely, I’m always appreciative.

Tim O’Shea: Beige is partially inspired by your initial move to Los Angeles. While the novel is not your story, of course, I’m wondering if when writing a novel like this do you find you learn a little about yourself in the process?

Cecil Castellucci: While no novel is biography, there are always elements of myself and where I’m at or where I’ve been. Sometimes it’s a look back, sometimes it’s a reflection of now, sometimes an imagined path not taken. So, I think that I learn a little bit about myself from every novel I write. For Beige, I was inspired by moving to my particular neighborhood in Los Angeles, Silverlake, and dealing with all the punk in Los Angeles. Everything was so punk rock here and I felt like an outsider looking in, even though I had moved here to put out my first CD on No Life Records. I was working at Epitaph Records and I was this little indie rock girl who sang Twee music. I suppose in this case I learned about the essential roots of punk, which are pretty much the essential roots of being an artist in the world. Ask questions. Pay attention. Think for yourself. When you do that, it’s all good.

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Meredith Godreau on Gregory and the Hawk

Gregory and the Hawk is music I recently became aware of while listening to an episode of Filmspotting.  Gregory and the Hawk has a number of informative websites, and one had a contact for Meredith Godreau, the founder and core of Gregory and the Hawk, and she was quite willing to do an email interview with me. After being signed to FatCat Records, October 2008 saw the release of the band’s Moenie and Kitchi. How Gregory and the Hawk started is a fascinating read in and of itself, as detailed in this FatCat website excerpt: “The name Gregory And The Hawk was conceived in 2003, initially devised to avoid her [Godreau] being perceived or pigeonholed as a female singer-songwriter (though, perhaps ironically, when pressed for a list of influences Meredtih cites Nick Drake, Liz Phair, PJ Harvey). Meredith remained playing alone under that name for a few years, until she met Mike McGuire in New York in 2005. . .” Be sure to go to the website for more details on Gregory and the Hawk’s history. My thanks to Godreau for a delightfully insightful interview. I want to also apologize to Godreau for how wordy my questions were–fortunately her answers were far more direct and informative. I was just so enthused to interview her, I clearly suppressed the editor in myself.

Tim O’Shea: Do you remember when you first realized just how potent and effective your singing voice is? (I only ask this, because the first time I heard your voice, I was in my car in a parking lot, I had gotten to my destination and I did not want to get out of my car. The last time a voice struck me like that was years ago, when I first heard Sam Phillips).

Meredith Godreau: I think Ariel the little mermaid helped many women realize their vocal talents.

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