Coming up November 6 and 7 (plus special events the evenings of November 4 & 5), the Brooklyn Lyceum (located at 227 4th Ave at President) will host the KingCon II, an independent comic, animation and illustration convention. The cost will be $7 day/$10 weekend (kids: $3 day/$5 weekend). To get the scoop on the con, I recently email interviewed the con’s co-director Regan Jay Fishman. Also the Lyceum’s program director Eric Richmond was kind enough to chime in with in-depth details about the special panels on Thursday (November 4). My thanks to Fishman and Richmond for their time.
Tim O’Shea: This is the second year of King Con, expanded from two to four days. As noted in the comments section of the Beat’s coverage of the announcement, the venue will be warmer this year. What other improvements or changes (adding an Artist Alley, for example) have you made based on feedback from last year’s attendees?
Regan Jaye Fishman: We have added an Artist Alley! We have also removed some risers to make for more room downstairs, Made the panels fifty minutes instead of a full hour to allow for changeover time, signings will be in the mezzanine instead of upstairs and the con has been extended by 30 minutes each day so that panels aren’t STARTING the SECOND people walk in the door.
Also, I will not be sporting a constant expression of abject terror.
This Saturday, October 30, marks the opening of Monster Mash-Ups (check out this video preview of the project) at Brooklyn’s Bergen Street Comics, a “collaboration between Brooklyn artist Jen Ferguson and Chicagoland writer Tim Hall. A hilarious and bizarro series of oil paintings and large format prints, MONSTER MASH-UPS update the classic movie and literary monsters of yore, including Frankenstein’s monster, Dracula, the Wolfman, the Blob, the Mummy, and many more.” While I’ve interviewed Hall before, I had not had the pleasure of interviewing Ferguson. As noted at her website, Ferguson is “an emerging artist working in DUMBO Brooklyn, NY. Her focus is on epic & monumental oils, both architectural and figurative. She also is known for small delicate drawings and watercolors.” In addition to discussing the mash-ups, we discussed her art in general, as well as opening with getting background on her musical pursuits through the band, Cows Like Shrimp. I rarely get to discuss art and music in the same interview, so I appreciate Ferguson’s time.
Tim O’Shea: How long have you had the band, Cows Like Shrimp, and who else is in the band with you?
Jen Ferguson: Cows Like Shrimp is a band I’ve been playing bass in for about five years, on and off. Originally, we were called “The Seftones”, after Sefton Stallard, the lead singer and guitarist. Sefton, who I’ve know for almost 15 years, is the main driving force behind the band. In addition to myself and Sefton, we have a few drummers who rotate in and out depending on their availability, and strangely enough are both named “pete.” Lately we’ve added an additional guitarist, Doug Kennedy, so we’re a four piece playing original music. Since I work in the studio alone for many hours a day, it’s a nice chance to collaborate and do a form of art that’s social.
As part of my day job, I periodically have to create flowcharts. None of my flowcharts, however, are as amusing or engaging as the ones that appear in Doogie Horner‘s brand new book, Everything Explained Through Flowcharts, which goes on sale today (October 26) from Harper Paperbacks. Here’s a snippet of what the book offers: “What if all of life’s greatest mysteries could be explained through ingeniously designed flowcharts? The afterlife, the quickest way to gain a supernatural power, even the ultimate guide for things to say during sex, all broken down into charts even your sixth grade English teacher (the one who made you do all those brainstorming diagrams) would be impressed by. Fortunately for humanity, comedian and graphic designer Doogie Horner has done just that” with this new book. You may recognize Horner from his recent appearance on NBC’s America’s Got Talent where he was the only comedian in the show’s final 48 contestants. My apologies to Horner for a typo in one of the questions (I meant to type “designing book covers” and inexplicably typed “designing comic books”), but fortunately enough Horner answered my “mistake” question (delightfully I might add) and my “proper” question (equally as delightfully). To get an idea of the flowcharts, here a few excerpted pages on superpowers and fears.
Tim O’Shea: You concede at one point in the book that this book required a great deal of research. Which of the features required the most research or was the most absurd to research?
Doogie Horner: Yeah, I tried to ground all the charts in solid research. So even charts like Alien Sex, where I’m obviously talking about 100% make believe, I researched depictions of aliens in television, film, and of course the numerous nutball testimonials.
Designer Paint Names required a ton of research, and I probably got a little carried away with that one. After I handed in the sixth page of paint name charts, my editor said, “If you hand in one more page of paint names, I will murder you.” WWF Finishing Moves was challenging as well, because even after I figured out what moves to include, I then had to find video or photos of each wrestler executing the move so I could diagram them accurately. However the Heroes and Villains chart definitely required the most research, because I had to find out how many people each hero and villain had killed in each of their films, and that covered 48 characters in 187 films. The numbers still aren’t 100% accurate for that chart, because I found different sources citing different numbers, and there were some kills that were ambiguous (for instance when Chuck Norris just mows down a whole crowd of bad guys with a machine gun), but I tried to be as accurate as possible. I had to use an equation to figure out Godzilla‘s kill count.
Reminder: Artist Anna Trodglen’s has a new Biscuits & Bellyrubs Facebook fan page!
And starting this week, they will start posting new strips on Wednesday and Sunday. I will typically feature the Sunday edition here at my blog and link back to the previous week’s Wednesday edition. At least that’s my plan for now.
Meanwhile here’s a link to the October 24 edition.
My mother’s recent death prompted me to dig out my Elizabethtown soundtracks (You have to love a Cameron Crowe film that deals with the loss of a parent and sports not one, but two soundtracks). One of my favorite songs from the soundtracks was HELEN STELLaR‘s io (This Time Around). Curious as to what the band was currently doing, I found out in mid-2010 HELEN STELLaR released If The Stars Could Speak, They Would Have Your Voice… Fortunately for me, Jim Evens of the band was kind enough to discuss their current and past work.
Tim O’Shea: The band started out in Chicago, but found it’s way to Los Angeles eventually. How has being based out of LA impacted the band’s evolution and its sound?
Jim Evens: Being in LA hasn’t had much of a cerebral effect on our sound or the songs themselves. however, some of the tribulations we’ve gone through are definitely evident. Also, the people you meet and the experiences you have can always inspire a song one way or another.
Years ago I remember when former 99X music director/DJ Sean Demery was interviewing singer Richard Butler (lead singer of The Psychedelic Furs and Love Spit Love). Demery was a huge fan of Butler and in an effort to prove what a great and distinctive singing voice that Butler possessed, the DJ had Butler sing his grocery list. And much to my surprise, Demery was right–Butler made carrots and milk sound passionate.
Another singer that has a distinctive voice is Michael Penn. So I was recently ecstatic to find out that Penn has a new song. It’s called The Count of Pennsylvania and he’s posted it on YouTube. When linking to it on his Facebook page, Penn wrote: “It struck me that even fake, manufactured or manipulated grass-roots/populist movements need folk anthems… I hope you enjoy.”
I do enjoy, Michael, I do.
“Notable Music loves you very, very much.” It’s not everyday that you run across a company with a motto like that. But do a search for Notable Music Co. and that’s a phrase that the company communicates fairly consistently. A music publishing company founded by composer/songwriter Cy Coleman in the early 1960s, Notable Music has been expanding in recent years. Even though Coleman died in 2004, with his widow Shelby Coleman serving as president with Damon Booth as VP/GM and Tom DeSavia as VP/Creative, Notable Music is “as committed to representing new and developing talent as it is in promoting the legacy of what we believe is one of the great independent music publishing catalogs of our time.” DeSavia was kind enough to recently answer a few questions. My thanks to him for his time. Given the shifting landscape of the music industry, after talking to DeSavia, I’m intrigued at the opportunities and successes that Notable Music have achieved and the upcoming projects it has planned (anytime someone mentions a new Sam Phillips project, I’m a happy man). Before jumping into the interview, however, please consider this paragraph from Notable Music: “A few of the artists who have recorded & performed the Notable Music & Portable Music repertoire include: Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, Sarah Vaughan, James Brown, Peggy Lee, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Isaac Hayes, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Shirley Horn, Sammy Davis Jr., The Jackson 5, Michael Buble, Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand, Queen, Fiona Apple, Wilson Pickett, Shirley Bassey, Nancy Wilson, Dusty Springfield, Sam Phillips, Patty Griffin, Madeleine Peyroux, Booker T. & the M.G.’s, and Robert Plant & Alison Krauss.”
Tim O’Shea: Last year when you and Notable Music VP/GM Damon Booth were interviewed at RM64, Booth said: “One of my goals for Notable when I started was for it to be a full-fledged music company. We’re publishers primarily, but if our songwriters need to make a record, then let’s get a record made and find a home for it.” The music industry seems to be changing drastically on a regular basis. How hard is it to expand your opportunities in such a climate?
Tom DeSavia: It’s actually one of the fun parts of the job. I’m always saying it’s 1956 all over again… meaning it’s like the dawn of rock and roll… ‘pop’ music sales, for lack of a better term, is not the massive business it was, so a lot of the financial muscle behind it has lost/is losing interest in music as an ‘industry’… so it’s moving back to a ‘small business’ mentality, and the canvas is blank… the business is being reinvented on what it’s going to be for the next 40 years. You have to do everything – and half the fun of it is making it up as you go along, because most of the old rules no longer apply.