Monthly Archives: June 2010

CJ Wallis on Please Subscribe

The basic concept of the Please Subscribe documentary (“Please Subscribe follows YouTube celebrites David Choi, Happy Slip, Daxflame, and Tay Zonday as they discuss how online media and YouTube has affected each of their lives and the face of entertainment.“) sparked my interest fairly quickly. The documentary, made by CJ Wallis and the Soska Sisters, hopes to play at several film festivals in the near to long term.  I recently conducted an email interview with Wallis. In addition to this documentary, according to Wallis: “I recently directed/edited/conceived the forthcoming Sarah Slean music video and am currently in development on my debut feature film, Frank Flood.  The girls are getting a ton of attention for Dead Hooker In A Trunk and are currently in development on two scripts. I also have some original music under the label Elective, which is also going rather well.”

Continue reading CJ Wallis on Please Subscribe

Core Reaction on Hulu Plus Remains the Same

A few months back I shared my initial thoughts on the prospect of paying for hulu. My opinion, now that the subscription-based model has been revealed, remains the same for the most part. Granted, I was mistaken in thinking that all content would require a paid subscription. I’m glad to see I was wrong and that we’ll still be able to get something for free.

Hulu has posted a brief intro video clip (free!) explaining Hulu Plus.

Webnewser has a great roundup of various industry/pundit reactions.

My parting thought/side note? I find the new Hulu Plus logo really lacking and that’s a shame as I liked the initial core hulu logo design.

Missed It: Team Coco Presents Conan’s Writers Live on TBS

This past Sunday night, TBS aired a show taped in Chicago earlier in June, Team Coco Presents Conan’s Writers Live (hosted by Andy Richter). Unfortunately I totally missed that it was scheduled to air. Fortunately for me (and hopefully for you), TBS has posted it here.

TBS had to trim some of the episode for time, and as the Team Coco site noted, that meant some of the writers got completed edited out of the show.  So as to not disappoint the writers edited out, Team Coco has posted the extras online, including this routine from Matt O’Brien.

I’m really intrigued at how Team Coco and TBS are branding Conan O’Brien already despite the fact he cannot appear on TV until well into the fall.

New York Times Covers James Comtois’ The Little One

It’s turning into a Crystal Skillman weekend (in a manner of speaking) given that she gave me the headsup on this latest item. Honestly, I think this is the first time where someone I covered at the blog would go on to be interviewed by the New York Times. Let me clarify, the fact that James Comtois, the playwright behind The Little One (who I interviewed a few weeks back) has nothing to do with my coverage.

Comtois is a talented and intelligent fellow (and quite easy to interview), so it makes sense he would be included in this June 22 piece by Jason Zinoman regarding the growing popularity of the horror genre in New York theater. The Little One opened its run on June 18. I never would have made a connection between Edward Albee and horror, but Comtois connects the dot for readers in the story.

Discovering New Hal Hartley Short Films

The other night I realized it had been awhile since I’d hear about any new work from writer/director Hal Hartley. I was under the impression that his most recent film had been 2006’s Fay Grim (the sequel to my favorite Hartley film, 1997 Henry Fool). But a quick check of IMDb revealed that he had released a slew of films in 2010, much to my delight and confusion.

I was confused because I could not fathom how Hartley could have released so many projects (Accomplice; Adventure; A/Muse; Implied Harmonies; and The Apologies) in one year. So I took my curiosity to Twitter (“OK, anybody else out there Hal Hartley fans? According to imdb he has multiple projects in 2010, anybody seen one of them?”) in hopes of finding out more info from a fellow Hartley fan.

I did not receive a reply from a fellow Hartley fan, but rather an explanation came via a tweet from Hartley’s company (Possible Films): “They’re part of a collection of new short films. You can see one of them on our website.“. The link takes you to the three-minute short film, Accomplice, which is described as “An artist-criminal far from home asks his assistant to pirate a rare videotape before the German Post Office Authorities come to confiscate it. Part of the PF2: Possible Films Volume 2 short film collection.”

Go visit the site and explore, because that short film is just one part of a Hartley treasure trove. Hartley is clearly utilizing the Internet to a great extent to grant fans the means to purchase not only some of his films, but also his music.

Catch Crystal Skillman’s HACK! in Its Final Finale

Friend of the blog, Crystal Skillman, emailed to let me know her play HACK! (directed by John Hurley) was extended at The Brick Theater’s Too Soon Festival and that the last show (the final finale for now) will be this Sunday, 6/27 at 8:30 PM.

She was kind enough to send me a link to a funny online clip about the play’s extension that “highlights the raves” (according to Skillman):

My thanks to Skillman for the headsup.

Evan Drake Howard on The Galilean Secret

The Galilean Secret

I am grateful to my parents for many gifts, but I rank my Catholic education/upbringing and intellectual curiosity as among some of the best. While Evan Howard, the author of The Galilean Secret (released last month), are not of the exact same religion (he is the pastor of the Community Church of Providence [Rhode Island), given that we are both Christians and that he is even more intellectually curious than myself (as well as the owner of a doctorate in theology from Boston University)–well it made for a great interview. In this email interview we discuss his novel–which is described as follows:

“When Karim Musalaha, a Palestinian on the run, seeks refuge in a forgotten cave near Qumran, he discovers a half-buried clay jar that contains a fragile scroll. His quest to discover its origins takes him on a high-speed chase through hostile Jerusalem and West Bank neighborhoods. Caught between his brother’s relentless ambition for martyrdom and the forbidden love of a Jewish woman with ties to the highest levels of the Israeli army, he must choose between honoring his father and betraying him to serve a higher purpose.

The scroll’s message also resonates with Judith of Jerusalem, a first century Jewish woman who, under the cover of darkness, gallops into the desert with the brother of the man she was betrothed to marry. When her allegiance to the burgeoning Zealot revolution pits her against the Roman occupiers and their priestly collaborators, Judith sees the cruelty of war and realizes her mistake. But is it too late for her to escape and find forgiveness? A letter written by a mysterious Galilean rabbi holds the answers, but the Romans have placed a price on his head. Should she risk her life for a rabbi she hardly knows, or risk her soul for a cause and a man whose beliefs she now rejects?

Bound by a letter that spans two millennia, both Karim and Judith will either succumb to hatred, violence and hopelessness, or reveal a wisdom that could save us all.”

I’m grateful to Howard for his valuable time and thoughts, as well as Kelly Hughes for facilitating the interview. Go here to read the first chapter.

Tim O’Shea: Tackling two plots with historical complexities in one book is fairly ambitious. How much revision/aggressive editing was involved in the pursuit of balancing the respective narratives and their unique pacing for both stories?

Evan Howard: The decision to include plots in two different time periods came about unexpectedly.  As a first-time novelist I didn’t plan to use this method because of the difficulties involved, but readers of an earlier version of the book (which I had self-published) expressed frustration that I hadn’t resolved what happened to Karim, the Palestinian student who appears in the first chapter, the action of which takes place in the present.  Since the rest of the novel happens in the time of Jesus, at first I resisted developing Karim’s story because I thought it would be a very complicated undertaking, but the more I thought about it, the more I saw that having two time periods and multiple plots could make the novel more multi-dimensional and increase its suspense.  This process required that I write fifteen new chapters and blend them with the historical material.  It took me about seven months to do this and involved a great deal of revising and editing along the way.  Once I entered into this process, I found it highly challenging but also a lot of fun—like working on a giant literary jigsaw puzzle.  Since there is a lot of action in both stories, the issue of pacing wasn’t a major problem.

Continue reading Evan Drake Howard on The Galilean Secret

Tweaks to the Blog

I’ve added my Twitter RSS feed on the right hand side. I’ve also added a recent posts widget, as well as the means to highlight recent comments.

Are there improvements you would like to see added to the site? I’m always open to suggestions on any front, so please let me know. Post a comment here or drop me a line via email (editor AT