Theatrical Thursday

Theatre poster of the weekOn Golden Pond by Ernest Thompson.


No Shame Theatre post of the week.

Day Trip to Guam

A piece for two voices

Voice 1: Bold Text         Voice 2: Italic Text         Voices Together: Underlined Text

(Lights up full on two podiums. Voice 1 stands behind one, and scans the audience and finds the most suitable “volunteer”. This may be prearranged or not. Either way, Voice 1 needs to find someone who is willing and able the first time out. The feeling of spontaneity is important, but there’s no time for refusals.)

I’m so relieved that you are here tonight. You are the very person I need to help with this piece. Will you help me out?

(Voice 1 quickly leaves the stage, hands the volunteer – now Voice 2 – the script and points out the italics and the underlined end, retakes the stage and tells Voice 2 to stand behind the other podium and study the script while Voice 1 speaks to the audience.)

Years ago in Florida I sat down and talked with noted author and curmudgeon Kurt Vonnegut – Author of Slaughterhouse Five, Cat’s Cradle, and other light classics. I found myself amazed by what he told me: “I don’t write science fiction anymore. Why bother? There’s no point. I mean it’s only a small – and probably stupid – idea to begin with. Why waste my time and your time writing a book that takes 200 pages to get to a damn punch line? Life’s too short.” As someone who had recently enjoyed Cat’s Cradle, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Was he fishing for flattery? No. He was telling me the truth, and as I get older, it makes more and more sense.

Aren’t we all tired of “ Didja ever wonder why… ” and “It really bugs me when…” and all those other lame stand-up intros? Haven’t we seen enough of those? Vonnegut wrote his later science fiction novels down as single sentences on napkins at parties. They were a big hit.

So inspired was I by this advice, that – with the help of this kind volunteer (indicates Voice 2) – I’ve decided to follow it. It goes like this: (start fast!) Military Intelligence

Urban Planning

Nuclear Safety

Vacation Bible School

Good Old Boys

Compassionate Conservative

Friendly Fire

Little Big Horn

Head Butt

Butt Head

Holy Shit

Holy War

Holy Roman Empire

Free with Purchase

Army of One

Shit-eating Grin

Hell’s Angels

Final Fantasy Four

Living Dead

Grateful Dead

Dead Reckoning

Dead Drunk

Smart Ass

Good Grief

Wireless Cable

Legal Brief

Wicked Good

Microsoft Works

Passive Aggressive

Assisted Suicide

Instant Classic

English Cuisine

Lingua Franca

Television Special

Black Lightning

White Tornado

Black Gold

Liquid Paper

Utah Jazz

Open Marriage

Even Odds

Virtual Reality

Happy Meal

Fire Water

Junk Food

Aerosol Cheese

Tofu Burger

Jumbo Shrimp

Fat Boy Slim

Fats Domino

Chubby Checker

Pudgy Parcheesi

You made that up!

Yes, I made that up.

Definite Possibility

Final Draft

Totally Unfinished

Half Assed

God Awful

Rap Music

Quiet Riot

Led Zeppelin



Art Appreciation

Dawn Wilson-Enoch – I met Dawn many years ago in Washington DC when she was just breaking into illustration. These days she lives in New Mexico and makes jewelry. In between she painted some of my favorite pieces in the genre. While very few of her pieces can be found online, I am pleased to say that two of these hang on my wall.





Theatrical Thursday

Theatre poster of the weekLonesome West by Martin McDonagh.


No Shame Theatre post of the week.



Performer – A young woman unafraid to take the bull by the horns.

Ringer – A young man who’s world is about to be shaken.

A Confederate – Someone who can quietly phone Ringer, covering up the receiver to make sure nobody hears “the other end” of the call, and hanging up when Ringer answers.

The Audience – Unpredictable. Watch out for them.

Props – One of Performer’s journal and a cell phone “hidden” in a bag or jacket.

Lighting: Performer asks for a center spotlight, with very low lighting on the audience. Tell the lightboard operator to go to blackout when you mention “Cigars”.

Direction – Fast – I cannot stress this enough, rehearsed and realistic. If you are too slow, the stage manager, or others might intervene, and that would be bad. Too unrehearsed and the crowd will get that it’s an act. So please be yourselves. If you feel these lines sound unnatural coming out of your mouths, feel free to emend them in rehearsal. This should be an unprecedented scene, and a lot of good clean fun, but remember to have the courage of your convictions and don’t let anyone interrupt you.

(Performer starts out under a spotlight – reading from a journal – the more involving and personal the journal, the better. Ringer’s cell phone rings after approximately 30 seconds, ideally in the middle of a long and intriguing passage. Performer stops reading and furrows her brow as she shields her eyes from the spotlight, and looks into the crowd to see who has the cell phone. Ringer tries – a bit frantically, and maybe with a little quiet swearing – to get to the phone, but he has difficulty as the phone is in a bag or coat, or lunchbag. Just as he finds it, the phone rings again.

Ringer: (answers it in a self-conscious whisper halfway through the second ring, looking around defensively in embarrassment) Hello? (short pause) Who? (short pause) Oh… (blushes, stammers.)

Performer: (to Ringer, pissed off) Hey! What the hell are you doing?

Ringer: (meekly to Performer) Talking.

Performer: (to Ringer) Talking? (Sarcastic) Ooookay.

Ringer: (covers receiver) Well, I had to answer it.

Performer: (to audience and Ringer at once) No, you didn’t. Hang up on them.

Ringer: No I ca… (trails off, distracted by the voice on the phone)

Performer: I would.

Ringer: (quietly into phone) Can I call you back? Please? (pause) What time is it there?

Performer: (walks toward Ringer) Give me the damned the phone. Here.

(Performer grabs the phone away from Ringer and quickly moves back to the center of the stage. Speaks crossly into it, moving in and out of the spotlight) This is a performance you are interrupting! Look, (pause to listen) Look Lady, I don’t care where you’re from…

(Longer pause to listen. Looks surprised) You’re kidding me.

No…uh–huh. (Performer looks around the audience and starts to smile evilly.)

Hey everybody, he’s (points to ringer) gonna be a daddy! (Ringer faints as noisily as possible.)

Cigars for everyone!


Current Work

Ah, the challenge of a 1 Hour Painting!*

This weekend’s HP Lovecraft Film Festival brought another fine Pickman’s Apprentice. This year it involved the Great Race of Yith and kissing. And the amazing talents at their respective easels? Heather Hudson, Frank Walls and the great William Stout.

*with 20 minutes of proper formatting in Photoshop when I got home.


Theatrical Thursday

Theatre poster of the week, Rent.


No Shame Theatre post of the week.


Cast – A physical actor (The Kid), his voice (Vox), and another voice (Doctor)

(Spotlight shines dimly on The Kid – sitting in the window. During the piece, he will move around inside the window, silently following Vox’s instructions – kicking, punching etc.)

Vox: (from offstage) You may think your life is boring. But you don’t know boring until you find yourself in solitary. You can’t imagine how boring it is. You want out. You’d give anything to get out… but you don’t have anything to give…

Doesn’t good behavior count for anything anymore? Doesn’t the presumption of innocence apply to you? Doesn’t anybody care? You have no recourse to the law- not in here. Not in solitary… You really don’t know what you did to deserve this- It’s not like you’re a bad guy or anything. Maybe you sinned, but who doesn’t? You’re only human after all…

You try to break out. You try to dig. You try to tunnel. You try to crack the walls, but you can’t. Not with your fingers, not with your nails. Not with your fists. Not with your feet. Not with your head.

You sometimes hear muffled conversation from outside. You hear sounds, but you never hear any words. Sounds, but no substance. You are so tortured by these vague sounds- sounds that are always just beyond the threshold of hearing- that you put your hands over your ears. Then all you hear is your heartbeat… There’s no one you can talk to. There’s nothing you can do. There’s no music, no television, no theater.

Sometimes, when you are feeling philosophical, you feel bad for the other inmates. Did they get a bum rap too? You wonder what they did. You wonder if they are in solitary. You wonder if their sentence is any shorter than yours. You wonder if they’ve thought of something you haven’t. You wonder if they’ve found some way to escape.

Sometimes you try to communicate with them. You try to use the codes you’ve been developing in your head. The knocking codes. The kicking codes. The shouting codes. But there’s never a response. All sense of perspective, all sense of self, all stimuli, all that you want, all that you crave. All gone. Sometimes you hear a noise that’s just a little different. You imagine the footsteps and sense a chance. You think your time is finally up. But you’re wrong. You’ve always been wrong…

Until today…

(The Kid falls out of the window. All lights up full)

Doctor: (loudly from offstage) Congratulations! It’s a boy.

The Kid: (covers his eyes with his hands, slowly kicks his legs and wails!)

(black out)

Art Appreciation

Katy Hargrove – I encountered Katy’s work when she was leaving college and I was still Art Director for Digital Addiction. And if the Euro hadn’t picked that moment to tank, I would have hired her. Years later she paid me a visit as she drove north from LA to Seattle and her (then) new gig at ArenaNet making GuildWars. She draws and sculpts delightful creatures.




Theatrical Thursday

Theatre poster of the week, The Jungle Book.


No Shame Theatre post of the week.


(lights up full)

How many of you here on this idyllic Sunday morning are victims of your memories?

How many of you here today can’t remember your first girlfriend’s eye color, but remember every embarrassing incident and every shameful moment you’ve ever experienced? You can’t remember things you’d like to, but can’t forget things you desperately want to? And you remember these events at the most inconvenient times. I think you know what I mean…

Joy can be fleeting. Happiness, ephemeral. Shame though – shame is eternal. Or so it might seem… Unless you fight it friends – fight it with every breath and every glance down your neighbor’s blouse. And fight it you should, because contrary to those figures that our scientific kinsmen ballyhoo, it’s Shame that is the number one killer in this country – the Demon Shame.

Shame seems a necessary fact of life my brothers and sisters. But it is not. Shame is merely the memory of hubris or bad timing or ill luck. The fault is not in you, not in your stars, but in your too-active memory for transgressions observed. A transgression not observed is surely no transgression at all.

Who told you “You should be ashamed of yourself!”? Was it your mama?

Do you think that Bill Clinton’s mama told him he should be ashamed of himself?

And if she did, do you think he listened? Should he have listened?

What separates great men from merely average men? What lifts a dyslexic coke-head and a drunk oilman to the highest position in our land? Is it shame? No friends – it is assuredly not. To be great requires that you understand shame, that you know it, that you have wrassled with it, and that you have defeated it. Again and again.

If you or I experienced a “Lost Weekend”, or wake up in jail, or accidentally went AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard, we would be prone to letting that change us. To becoming ashamed and letting life take us by the short hairs. But not the great men, no sir! When our esteemed Vice President got pulled over for his second DWI, do you know what passed through his mind? It wasn’t “Oh my god, I could’ve killed those children!”. It wasn’t “This time they’ll have my license for sure”. And it surely wasn’t “I’ll lose my job, my wife will leave me and I’ll go to jail”. No no no! What would be the sense of that?

You can be sure the big Dick pursued a much different line of reasoning. “Well, I guess that makes me about 186 and 2. I drive right well when I’m tanked up”. And that, friends, was that. Not for him the paralysis of the conscience-stricken. Not for him the wishy-washy feel-good hand-waving of atonement. No indeed! He had a job to do, and he’s doing it. Shouldn’t we all be doing our jobs?

Too too many here among us today start at a deficit, as the victims of a Liberal Arts education. Too many have sworn to learn from the mistakes of the past and promised never to become like Alexander the Great, like Stalin, like Hitler. And that’s all well and good. But don’t throw the baby out with the bath water friends.

It’s all very well to say you’ll never be like old Shicklegruber, for there are many facets to the man’s personality that were odious and undesirable – His fashion sense, his absurd vegetarianism. But look also at what made him an effective leader. His total lack of shame was little short of a miracle. He was a tiny little dumpling of a man – an ugly, surly drunk with a bad mustache. He had nothing to live for, but he did it all. And why? Because he had no shame.

But how can Mr. Hitler’s better qualities help us today? How can we benefit from his example? Not with your petty provincial code of silence for one thing. Shame must not be fought in silence friends. Not in silence, nor quiet contemplation in a hidden monastery. Not in isolation or at a remove from the world. You must fight this fire with fire my friends! Every time you get caught with your hand in the cookie jar, you just take some more cookies. After all, you deserve them!


Current Work and Con-Volution Schedule 2016

Today’s current work is the cover I did for Con-Volution‘s program book.

I’m Artist Guest of Honor this year! My convention schedule is below.


Con-Volution 2016 - The Age of Monsters! September 30-October 2

Publishing Art: A Whole Different Game

Friday 15:00 – 16:30, Parlor 2021 (Hyatt Regency SFO)

Our panelists will share the ways in which publishing art, and publicizing yourself as an artist, can be so very different from what most people think when they say “publishing”.

Lee Moyer, Yarewe, Maia B W Sanders, Daniel Cortopassi, JC Arkham (M)


Guests’ Professional Social Hour

Friday 18:00 – 19:00, Sequoia B (Hyatt Regency SFO)

For our Convention Guests and Presenters- come join other Guests and Pros in the related genre fields for some introductions, networking, and connecting for another great convention weekend.

Warlock aka ChairMonster (M), Anne Bishop, Lee Moyer, Lord Blood Rah, Zoë Moss, Kelly Swails, Lex Rudd, August Ragone


On & Off the Page

Saturday 10:00 – 11:30, Parlor 2104 (Hyatt Regency SFO)

What you place in a scene on your canvas around your main focal point can sometimes be just as important, if not moreso. Talk layout and what to show, and sometimes NOT show, with professional artists.

Lee Moyer, Daniel Cortopassi, JC Arkham (M), Zoë Moss, Maurine Starkey


Guest of Honor Interview: Lee Moyer

Saturday 12:00 – 13:30, SandPebble B (Hyatt Regency SFO)

Join our Toastmaster Lord Blood Rah as he asks artist Lee Moyer all the questions you always wanted to hear, and enjoy a visual presentation from Lee of some of his favorite works!

Lord Blood Rah (M), Lee Moyer


How Cthulu Became Cuddly?

Saturday 17:00 – 18:30, SandPebble B (Hyatt Regency SFO)

How did the most terrifying beings of our imagination become cuddly plushies, love interests, and punchlines? We’ll look at the intersection of horror and humor, and whether they enhance or deface the genre.

Deborah J. Ross, Ms. Jennifer Carson, Laurel Anne Hill, Lee Moyer (M)


GOH Patron Brunch

Sunday 10:00 – 11:30, Parlor 2104 (Hyatt Regency SFO)

Brunch with the Guests of Honor and Featured Guests, for the Patron attendees.

Warlock aka ChairMonster (M), Anne Bishop, Lee Moyer, Zoë Moss, Kelly Swails, August Ragone, Lex Rudd, Lord Blood Rah


The Ever-Evolving Field of Self-Publishing as an Author

Sunday 12:00 – 13:30, SandPebble C (Hyatt Regency SFO)

As more and more authors find that self-publishing is their preferred method, learn from those who are walking that road where to avoid the pitfalls, and what you’ll need to do to really be prepared!

Steven Savage, R.L. King, Mark Gelineau, Melissa Snark (M), Lee Moyer


Closing Ceremonies

Sunday 15:30 – 16:00, SandPebble B (Hyatt Regency SFO)

Now’s the time we say goodbye to all our monster friends!  It’s the end of the weekend, so we’re going to gather one more time to say thank you to our fabulous guests, and to all our attending monsters and monster admirers- for making it an awesome convention!

Warlock aka ChairMonster (M), Lord Blood Rah, Lee Moyer, Anne Bishop, Zoë Moss, Lex Rudd, Kelly Swails, August Ragone

Theatrical Thursday

Theatre poster of the week, Gypsy. Book by Arthur Laurents. Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.
Music by Jule Styne.


No Shame Theatre post of the week.

Host and Hostess


Hostess – An effectively beautiful but stern Human Resources Director

Frieda – A scared minimum wage employee.

Bob – The Alpha and the Omega of religious retailing.

Dwayne – Server of delicious snack treats. Not the sharpest pencil in the box…

(A gathering of nametag-wearing employees in a large auditorium. Dwayne is serving cut-up chocolate cookies from a large tray throughout. The Hostess stands in the middle of the room. The ceiling lights are at 50%, and there is no spotlight on the “TV window”)

Hostess: Welcome coworkers! Please sit down and make yourselves comfortable. I realize that this big Easter meeting is unprecedented and so – to make you feel more at home – I will take a question from the audience. (looks all around the room, before seeing a woman in the back of the auditorium) Yes? (squints to read name tag) Frieda. What can I help you with dear?

Frieda: (knits her brow and speaks tentatively) Um…

Hostess: No need to be shy here, Frieda. You’re among friends. (big corporate smile. Sweeping gesture indicates everyone in the room.)

Frieda: Well, what I’d like to ask is this. (nervous pause) Are we in some kind of trouble?

Hostess: Heavens no, Frieda. I’d say quite the reverse in fact. I think you’ll find this gathering quite rewarding. Here, I’ll show you. Let’s begin, shall we? (Hostess holds out the remote control, and presses a button).

(lights down in Room, Up on the “TV Window”)

Bob: (appears in the “TV window”) Friends. (smiles beatifically)

If you are seeing this video tape, it will mean that I have died and gone to join ol’ Walt in Heaven’s rosy embrace. But don’t despair. My life was blessed. I got to meet a great many of you, the Bobsmart and Bob’s Club faithful, before I died. And I’m here now to tell you, you few, you precious few hundred who are viewing this tape today, that you are more important to me and to the world than you’ve ever dared imagine.

Despite my past words to the contrary, and your managers glowing reports, you too often think of yourselves as mere employees, as wait staff who stand for long hours on cold concrete floors serving sample hors d’oeuvres to a public who doesn’t appreciate your service.

Dear friends, I am here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. You are special! You have what others today can only dream of. No, I’m not talking about a job…I’m talking about a vocation. A calling. I’ve called you here as my representatives- not merely to represent me in a passive or servile way. Oh, no dear friends. You are here in the very heart of my sacred ministry.

You have passed every test – great and small – that I have set before you. You have been patient in the face of the blind and callous mass of pagan humanity. You have signed the vow of secrecy. You have not missed one single day of work in a four month period preceding this talk. You do not speak in a derogatory or salacious manner. You are model citizens and excellent servers, but more than that- You are my Apostles friends.

Yes, you heard me right- Apostles. And I want to thank you for that.

Every day you have walked the holy aisles of my meeting houses, every time you have served my flock – whether you served them Tex Orton’s Mild Picante Sauce or Bobby Jo Jittmeyers’s Deep Fried Pork Cracklins – you have delivered! And now, now it’s time for you to know the tru—

(Bob freezes in the middle of the “oo” sound” as Hostess pauses the tape.)

Hostess: (interrupting, moving in front of the TV. Speaks soothingly) Now see there… Bob has placed his faith in you. Is there anyone here who feels unworthy of Bob’s love? Is there anyone here who would like to leave now to go back to their duties? (pause) No? Very well then, let’s continue…

(Hostess presses the play button, and backs away from the TV reverently.)

Bob: (continuing from before) …uth.

Friends, I’m talking about the Eucharist- the sacred ritual through which the Blood and Body of Christ are given to the members of the church. In ancient times this was only a metaphor- a beautiful metaphor. But today… Today things are different. In today’s world, a mere metaphor will no longer suffice. The world needs an honest-to-God Eucharist!

And through the miracle of Genetically Modified Foods, that’s what you have been bestowing upon the masses- the membership of My Holy Bob’s Clubs throughout the world. You and all those members I welcome through my doors are now of the body, of my body.

Yes, you heard me right. I’ve had my own genetic material put in everything we sell exclusively here at Bob’s Club: from Cousin Kate’s Home-Baked Ham to the very Heavenly Chocolate Whammies you have been eating here today.

Welcome to my body, you precious Apostles! Amen!

(lights out in the “TV Window”, lights up full in room.)

Hostess: (turns off TV, chews and swallows audibly) Amen! You are truly the blessed my brothers and sisters. Go with Bob, for he is the Light and the Way!

Dwayne: (milling around) Anybody want more o’ the Body? (pause) He’s delicious…

(lights fade out)