Posts Tagged interview
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.
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.
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.”
In November 2012, the United States elected a president. Also right around the same time, author Stephen Battaglio released his latest book, an e-book to be exact, Election Night: A Television History 1948-2012. As described by the publisher, the book “is a fascinating and revealing look at the evolution of U.S. presidential election night broadcasts and how since 1948, this televised event galvanizes the nation. It explores the technical advancements in vote counting, live coverage from the field, how the networks get polling information and call a state for a candidate and how the drama unfolds in the control room. Through the lens of NBC News, Election Night highlights significant commentary by legendary news figures such as Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, John Chancellor, Tom Brokaw, Tim Russert, and Brian Williams.”
The book makes the most of the Kindle platform, utilizing the NBC large video archives, as well as offering historical audio clips in an enhanced edition [available here [or iTunes link here]. To find out more about his latest project, Battaglio accepted my invitation for another interview (I first interviewed him in 2011 regarding his book on NBC Today Show’s 60-year history.)
Tim O’Shea: You pull data for the book, including congressional hearings as well as the David Brinkley Papers/Archives. What was the biggest surprise/most interesting aspect of delving into Brinkley’s papers?
Stephen Battaglio: I loved David Brinkley. He is my favorite TV news anchor of all time. The humor that he managed to inject in his on-air commentary came across in his papers, especially in personal letters and internal memos. What you saw on screen was his true self.
Singer/songwriter Kara McGraw just released an album, Hound and Hare, that was 10 years in the making. The album, which was released on September 25, is aiming to support 13 charities over 13 weeks. Each week, a new charity will be supported. Yesterday week 2 of the charity support started–and this week the charity that is benefiting is Heifer International. To see McGraw’s entire charitable donation plan, be sure to visit here. My thanks to McGraw for discussing the album (which can be bought in its entirety for $10 here)
Tim O’Shea: When did you realize you wanted to do an album that “takes inspiration from vinyl, including an A and B side“?
Kara McGraw: The songs on this album were composed over the span of ten years. Needless to say, I was staring into a large pool of music when planning the album lineup, and I was divided as to how to proceed. On the one hand, I feel a deep connection to my more intimate, first-person songs. They turn inward to explore and express vulnerability, and in so doing, they offer comfort and healing. On the other hand, I was also ready to dive into a new, more adventurous musical sphere, one that gave me the opportunity to reflect on external affairs and society as a whole. This latter style of music aligns with a different state of mind, one that is more confident, analytical, and outward-focused.
In late 2011, I was watching BBB Channel 12/Oak Ridge’s Ciderville Farm and Home Show. It’s a weekly show that airs every Saturday at 7:30 PM with live local music and old-fashioned comedy. On this particular night, one of the show’s guests was Wendy Crowe, a singer/songwriter who also plays in the duo, Westwend, with Jonathan Maness. In this interview we discuss her upcoming solo CD, as well as her work with Westwend. Westwend is playing a few dates in North Carolina this weekend–on Friday at Twigs in Blowing Rock, NC and on Saturday at Banner Elk Cafe in Banner Elk, NC.
Tim O’Shea: How young were you when you first realized you wanted to be a singer/songwriter?
Wendy Crowe: I’ve always loved to sing, and I would pretend I was on stage every chance I got. However, it was about 6th grade that I really started practicing my writing. I had this teacher, Mrs. Morgan, who loved the arts as much as I did, so we were always singing and doing musicals. She helped me realize that you have to do what you loved.
Tomorrow will mark the final performance of Batz at 11:30pm in Joe’s Pub (425 Lafayette Street, Manhattan). As noted by the release announcing the performances (Batz’s first 2012 performance was last Friday, June 13, at Joe’s Pub): “Batz takes the premise of Elevator Repair Service’s theatrical event Gatz and substitutes classic Batman stories for The Great Gatsby, resulting in a fast-paced, hilarious take on Batman, Robin, and their Rogues Gallery that celebrates the imaginative, social and transformative power of comics…Created, written and directed by downtown comedy and theater veterans Josh Mertz and Erik Bowie, Batz features an all-star cast of indie theater stalwarts and up-and-comers, including Lynn Berg, Melissa Delancey, Kathleen Foster, Matthew Foster, Matt Gray, Bob Laine, Dan Maccarone, Josh Mertz, and Harrison Unger.” To find out more about the project, Josh Mertz was kind enough to do an email interview. Interested in seeing the show? As noted in the release: “Tickets ($15) can be purchased online at joespub.com, where customers are able to select their seat from an interactive seat map when purchasing, by phone at 212-967-7555, or in person at The Public Theater Box Office (1 PM to 6 PM) located at 425 Lafayette Street, NYC.” my thanks to Mertz for his time. [Please note the above video clip is from the Summer 2011 Comic Book Theater Festival]
Tim O’Shea: For the uninformed like myself, what is Gatz (which served as the inspiration for Batz)?
Josh Mertz: Gatz is a show by NY Theater Company Elevator Repair Service, in which an office worker finds a copy of the The Great Gatsby and begins reading it aloud. His co-workers join him in acting out the characters from the novel, and every word of it is read over the course of a 6-hour theatrical experience. It’s one of the most inventive and engrossing things I’ve ever seen onstage, and has played two sold-out runs at the Public. It’s both an intense exploration of a great American novel and a metaphor for the experience getting lost in a book.
Next Friday, May 11, Anna Trodglen, creator of the online comic strip Biscuits & Bellyrubs, will unveil her translation and illustration of Little Red Riding Hood, the classic children’s story, from the original German. The book celebration is set to be held at the Young Blood Gallery (636 N Highland Ave. Atlanta, GA 30306/404-254-4127), from 6 to 9 PM. As befits a children’s book, kids are encouraged to attend (bring the parents of course) the gathering, where snacks and sodas will be served. As an added bonus, Anna’s musical collaboration with husband Dugan Trodglen and John Armstrong (aka the legendary band, DQE) will perform a set. In anticipation of the event, Anna and the book’s designer/letterer Anthony Owsley allowed me to email interview them. (Eagle eye readers will note this marks the second time I have gotten to interview Anna [the first time being in 2010]) My thanks to Trodglen & Owsley for the interview.
Tim O’Shea: What inspired you to tackle Little Red Riding Hood, rather than translating one of the myriad other German folklore tales?
Anna Trodglen: I wanted to do Little Red Riding Hood because I was really drawn to the Wolf. He seemed very interesting and as a dog relative he was appealing to me. I also liked the limited number of cast in the story and that there were three distinct female characters.
When a mutual friend told me about Young Adult novelist Crickett Rumley‘s 2011 book, Never Sit Down in a Hoopskirt and Other Things I Learned in Southern Belle Hell, I immediately decided I had to email interview the author. Here’s the official scoop on the book: “Expelled from thirteen boarding schools in the past five years, seventeen-year-old Jane Fontaine Ventouras is returning to her Southern roots, and the small town of Bienville, Alabama, where ladies always wear pearls, nothing says hospitality like sweet tea and pimento cheese sandwiches, and competing in the annual Magnolia Maid Pageant is every girl’s dream.
“But Jane is what you might call an anti-belle, more fishnets and tattoos than sugar and spice. The last thing on her mind is joining the Magnolia Maid brigade and parading around town in a dress so big she can’t fit through a door. So when she finds herself up to her ears in ruffles and etiquette lessons, she’s got one mission: ESCAPE.”
This interview was conducted in late 2011. My thanks to Rumley for her time and humor.
Tim O’Shea: When did you first realize you derived creative satisfaction from writing teen comedy?
Crickett Rumley: Being a teenager is one of the most terrifying states of existence on earth. At least it was for me. On some level, everybody feels awkward and is searching for who they are, whether they are the most popular girl in school or the computer geek who hides in the corner and only comes out to answer calculus questions. Under those conditions, emotions run at full velocity – the highs are stratospheric, the lows are deeper than the sea. Everything means everything. So I’ve always felt that period in a character’s life is ripe for story-picking.