Archive for May, 2009
Anytime my old friend and Atlanta-based critic Curt Holman suggests an interview topic, I’m no fool, I listen. So when Holman recommended I interview Phillip DePoy regarding his new novel, The King James Conspiracy, I did not hesitate to contact DePoy for an email interview.
Here’s the basic premise of the new novel:
“The turning of the wheel by the tilling of the wheat.
With these cryptic words, a conspiracy is set in motion. It threatens a new translation of the Bible ordered by King James I. The year is 1605. In Cambridge England one of the translators is savagely murdered. Deacon Marbury, charged with protecting the group, seeks outside help to find the murderer. But the people who offer to help are not who they claim to be and the man they send to Marbury–Brother Timon–has a secret past and blood on his hands. He is the agent of certain forces that hope to halt the translation itself. The killer continues his gruesome work; the body count rises. Brother Timon is torn between conflicting loyalties. He believes that an even greater crisis looms; ancient and alarming secrets are revealed. These secrets date to the earliest days of Christianity and threaten the most basic of its beliefs.”
Here’s just a snippet of DePoy’s biography: “Phillip DePoy is the EDGAR award winning playwright of EASY (New York’s vote for best mystery play in the country). He is also the author of 10 novels, 2 published plays, and 37 theatre pieces that have seen production throughout the United States. His play LAMB ON FIRE was produced in New York. His Dell mystery novels, featuring Atlanta character Flap Tucker, have been called the best regional detective fiction on the market today. … The author is currently director of theatre for Clayton State University. His play TURNED FUNNY recently received 3 SUZI awards (Atlanta’s Tony Awards). His newly commissioned CHRISTMAS AT SWEET APPLE sold out in 2007 at THEATRE IN THE SQUARE and was remounted for Christmas 2008.” There’s a great deal more to his bio, but you can follow the link, as his entire website is entertaining in and of itself. Of particular interest with the new novel, the site offers folks a chance to read an excerpt. Nothing better than free words, I tell ya. My thanks to DePoy for a really enjoyable and funny interview.
A month or so ago I was reading about Peter Morris‘ knowledge of baseball at The Second Pass. I was curious to learn more from (and about) the baseball historian. So I contacted him to see if he was interested in an email interview. Fortunately, he was and we got a chance to discuss his clear love of the game’s rich past and in particular, his latest book (published in April by Ivan R. Dee), Catcher: How the Man Behind the Plate Became an American Folk Hero.
Tim O’Shea: Given how much you know about the history of baseball, what long dormant rules that used to exist do you think could be re-introduced in the modern era to help revitalize the game?
Peter Morris: What today’s baseball fans rarely realize is that baseball was originally a sport with fast-paced, non-stop action. Catchers snapped the ball back to the pitcher and if the batter stepped out of the box or even looked like he wasn’t paying attention, the pitcher would try to sneak a pitch past him. While every sport has timeouts, only baseball has unlimited timeouts and I think some limit should be put on them. There’s no good reason that a batter should be allowed to step out and take as long as he wants after every pitch. Then you could put and enforce similar restrictions on the pitcher, as well as limiting the number of pickoff throws per at bat.
Ian Boothby is a writer of many mediums, mainly sketch comedy and comics. Recently I found out about his involvement in the comedy show, Canadian Content. As detailed at its site: “Canadian Content is a video and live sketch comedy show featuring Vancouver’s top award winning comedic talent. What can an audience expect from Canadian Content? It’s smart. It’s loose. It’s funny. And it may not contain actual Canadian content.” Canadian Content recently was named Best Sketch Group from the 2008 Canadian Comedy Award. In addition to Boothby, Canadian Content includes Toby Berner, Chris Casillan, Diana Frances, Nathan Clark and Drew McCreadie. My thanks to Boothby for the email interview.
Tim O’Shea: How did Canadian Content originally form?
Ian Boothby: Canadian Content is a spin off from Urban Improv which has been doing weekly sketch style improv for 13 years in Vancouver. We still perform every Monday at Chivana. There was a Vancouver Sketchfest show happening and we wanted Urban Improv to attend but the other groups were adamant that the material had to be scripted. So we wrote some sketches based mostly on characters we’d done on our Monday shows and called ourselves Canadian Content.
Most of the performers in the group have actually had sketch television series in Canada but we never really thought about doing sketch regularly live before this. Since then we’ve got on to do the Chicago and San Fran Sketchfests and the Vancouver ComedyFest. We’ve gotten to work with most of our sketch comedy heroes from Kids in the Hall and Mr. Show. If it all ends now we couldn’t complain. Okay, we clearly would complain but…
It seems like media industries are being redefined on a fairly frequent basis these days. So when I found out about the new textbook, Media Industries: History, Theory and Method, I was curious to see what ground the textbook covered. Fortunately, the editors of the textbook, Jennifer Holt (Assistant Professor of film and media studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara) and Alisa Perren (Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at Georgia State University) were quite willing to answer my questions. In the spirit of the collaborative way that they edited the textbook, Holt and Perren collaborated on the answers. Once you’ve read the interview, be sure to also visit Professor Perren’s media industries blog. My thanks to both Holt and Perren for the interview. And if that’s not enough for you, be sure to visit Wiley’s (the publisher’s) site to download a PDF excerpt of the textbook.
Tim O’Shea: How did the idea for the textbook first come about?
Jennifer Holt/Alisa Perren: We both teach classes about the media industries and were frustrated with the lack of course materials devoted to this subject – especially materials approaching the topic from a humanistic perspective. We also saw that the study of media industries had been growing and expanding but it had not yet been mapped as a field in an academic text. So we enlisted some of the people who have done formative work in this area as well as those doing new scholarship to help us put what we saw as the emerging field of media industries into context for our readers. (To view the book’s table of contents, click here.)
O’Shea: How did you divvy up the editorial duties on the textbook?
Holt/Perren: This was truly a collaborative effort. We worked together in recruiting contributors, editing all of the essays, and writing the introduction. And amazingly, we remained friends through it all.