Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween & Bernie Wrightson....

Wendy and I both had little missions to accomplish today, we agreed to co-pilot for eachother. She had to go to Fry's to exchange something. Yes, Fry's with the endless aisles of gadgetry and bits, as you can see, even the stores here in Los Angeles gets dressed up for Halloween...

actually it is a permanent UFO embedded in the building, i should have photographed the inside of the place, with the other side of the craft (complete with neon!) hovering over shoppers. In the computer section, a giant Kraken, tentacles got me in the mood for Halloween...

from there we zipped over to Dark Delicacies for my part of the mission.

Bernie Wrightson was signing in Burbank.... celebrating the 25th anniversary of his illustrated version of Frankenstein.

Frankenstein, the story of the cobbled-together being and his creator, Victor. Wikapedia says this is "arguably considered the first fully-realized science fiction novel." Hmmmm, that I did not know. I honestly never thought about it. I didn't even remember that it was subtitled "Modern Prometheus", after the cheeky Greek human who stole fire from Olympus. (and received a fairly harsh punishment for it as well...) It has been so long since i have read this story, written by Mary Shelley, who wasn't even yet twenty years old...

I remember Michael Stewart (he of Beauty Bar fame) gave me a copy of the Frankenstein book in the good old days, illustrated by one of my very favorite artists from horror comics...He could draw the look of fright perfectly, complete with what we called "mouth strings" when we were little... i mean, look at this me a good chill.

That book Michael gave me--it is long gone... the artist, very alive and well. I was telling Del of Dark Delicacies that I once had that edition of the book, and he said, "well you are out about 200 bucks then..." I loaned it out and never chased it down. I don't know who has it, honestly.
The new version is out on Dark Horse and at thirty bucks, a true classic of a treasure. (Bill, I DID get you something, but it wasn't this. Sorry, my brother!)

Here is the gracious Bernie and his sweet wife, Liz, i took this today at his signing:

tonight is Sharle's birthday party, which i will go to after babysitting the tiny elf Ava.
Happy 30th, little "big Shurl"!!!
She is the one that I will always love for taking my parents to a Redskins bar on one of their visits to California...
she shoved everyone out of two seats right in front of the big screen tv, so my Mom and Dad could have a unobstructed view.
You see why I adore her...
here she is (grey coat) with Red at Miles' art show last October...(see a painted Malena in the background?)


tomorrow is Halloween at the Magic Castle... when I first moved to LA, i drove past this, and thought, well I must go there.
Then I was told, mere mortals cannot just "go there". You have to be invited by a member, and that to become a member, you must be a magician. I do know you can stay at the hotel, without being a member and I have been to the hotel...


magic bathrobe!

as for the actual Castle, this is the most I have seen:

so tomorrow promises to be a wonderland adventure. Extra thanks to Miles for getting us in. (well, let's not put the cart before the horse, how about for getting us Invited..)
Malena is going as a geisha, I am going to be a spooky wish-granter, Red has amassed a fortune in rubber clothing, which looks spectacularly flattering when on (well, when on her!), don't know what Miles is going to be....sadly, I heard no photos allowed.
we will just have to see about that...none allowed at many places I go, but those rules, I look at them more as guidelines.

and a final word, as next week I am going to be off-the-hook busy in Madonna-land:

Please remember your right to vote is a precious one, don't take it for granted.

{what, did you think my final word would be a plea to Joachim Phoenix to just take some time off, not quit acting entirely???}

(ok, well, maybe he will consider it)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

ten dollars = forty quarters...

growing up in a half-Greek, half-Irish household,
we had many visitors: some relatives, some family friends.
I just recall a revolving door of people that my parents would entertain.

There is a story about me, tiny hustler that i was,
walking around with a nickle in my hand, telling these family friends:
"If i had two dimes, I would have a whole quarter..."
this could actually bring in a whole dollar if neither of my parents
were witness to it, but usually they'd rush over, "Haha isn't she precious---go to your room now".

Then later, as we grew older, the Greek side would press folding money into our hands,
we'd protest, but ever so faintly, and i will always remember the rushing off to compare notes with Chris.
(like we would also do on Halloween with our candy haul)
Thea Popi, Uncles John (both S & V), all big supporters of the fund, just to name a few...

We would also always see our Dad pressing money into the paws of our cousins---
so it was a family fund, circling the world.

When in Cleveland this summer, I had to continue the tradition, with Abra & Thalia.
I don't know if it was ok with C&B but i still had to do it.
and here is what "Ant Cat" got in the mail...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

we all SCREAM....

it is my birthday week.
I spent my technical real day of birth working the Tina Turner show @ Staples Center, she was simply amazing.
Drew is on the tour and he is running hard on this one.
Look at this production, she is over the crowd in a Mick-Jaggeresque cherry picker.
Tina really seemed to be in awe of her back-up dancers, each of them a genetic miracle. I didn't get a photo of the gigantic lights that spelled out T I N A, but trust me, a show not to miss. She says it is her last world tour...


Drew had a day off and he took me to the Arclight, where we saw Rockn'Rolla, i jumped and cheered in my seat. The soundtrack was perfection. Looks like Guy Ritchie is back to himself.

That night we met a bunch of friends at the Good Luck bar on Hollywood, even though I was still fighting off the dread sick.


i took this with my birthday present, the new iPhone. thank you honey. I named phone-y "One-Two" after the character in the film.


Last year @ Comicon, Neil was told that he was going to be presented with the Scream/Spike TV ICon Award (& deservedly so, says me.)
This year, they invited him again, only George Lucas was being honored as the Icon.
He was unable to attend and, very sweetly, gave his tickets to Red & Malena. (I had been invited by HRH Michael Levitt, thank you buddy)

we girls all gathered at the treehouse. Christy was in town on a break from Maroon 5 tour, and she got a kick out of Red & Malena flinging around the latex and false eyelashes. Red & I met Christy on the Rob Zombie tour, she is our roadie sister.


we went in through the security gates and Malena got stopped with her camera. For some reason, the guy looked directly at mine and waved me through. My mind meld ability? perhaps. ANyway, the first person I saw going in the gates was the tour manager for Smashing Pumpkins...Doug went and rescued Malunka n' her camera. The Pumpkins played the show as did this little lady:


Brandy, my aerialist buddy from the Motley Crue tour, opened the show by dangling high above the stage. My photos of her didn't quite cut it, sorry Brando. Here we are at my birthday party the night before, I hadn't seen her since the Tool show last year.

the stage was a huge chrome and neon dragon, and the Scream sword logo spit pyro fire from the top.
here is Mr. Manson:


Batman took many of the honors, and Gary "Drexel" Oldman was his charmingness as he accepted his crowd-favorite award.

more fire....


this photo I pulled from the LA Times site:


is confetti littering?


they brought Tim Burton down in a balloon basket and he seemed a little green around the gills as he disembarked...


there were Watchmen previews-- (all of which I had seen, but never the less---stoking the anticipatory fires..)

the show closed with a four star tribute to George Lucas, complete with a great number of Stormtroopers.
In his speech, Lucas did something that was very touching, almost brought a tear to my glass eye, he wished us all bright futures. LIke Bill Murray said in Caddyshack, at least I got that going for me.



Afterward we piled over to the Roosevelt Hotel for the afterparty, a real fairyland.
There was an absinthe bar, and I tried a little glass. Yes, I saw fairies...but not from the drink.


here is our Red in front of one of the many mostly-naked-sprites...


but the highlight of my evening, i turned around right into Kyle Gass, Jack Black's partner in Tenacious D. I really was a goofy fan girl, shouting "KYLE!" he was a sweetheart and we talked for awhile, he says they are doing some shows in November. I told him I wanted ON that tour...but I didn't make him take a photo with me.....shoulda.....

it was another smashing event and I really thought they would have scaled back in light of the financial world we are now finding ourselves in, but they went man overboard. The show aired last night, but you can catch it in reruns....

now to get rid of my is really hanging on for dear life....

Monday, October 13, 2008

at tour's end...

the last night of Neil's book tour was autumn-y, a crisp fall day in the twin cities.
I had been at Lorraine's, she was kindly nursing my evil illness. We made some salsa and guacamole
from items grown in the Garden, and shopped for cheese...



we drove into St. Paul to meet up with the tour, the night was being sponsored by
the fine people of the Red Balloon bookstore.

a very interesting gentleman Steve brought a femur for Neil to sign, (note the Bernie Wrightson signature, ooooooh)
i wish I had gotten a little more information on this entire-skeleton signing, anyone have details?

after Neil signed (with Dog's full attention on bone), he got a phone call which caused us all to jump and shout, The Graveyard Book hit #1 on the New York Times Children's list. !!! insert exclamation point here !!! i am so proud of you, boss...

photo by Mimi Ko
(photo of me by Mimi Ko)

Lorraine wrangled Dog and he rested in the back while Neil did his reading.


my aunt Athena and her Jim joined in the evening:


and finally here are the weary three at the very end of the run, Elyse & Brady bookend Neil.:


i fly home tomorrow.

next blog: Lady-cation....

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

"New York, New York, big city of dreams...

...everything in New York ain't always what it seems"
-Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five

We hit the streets running.

MTV interview w/ Neil, in which I learned quite a bit...

I was staying next door the Beauty Bar at the home of my old friend Michael Stewart, part-owner of said bar.
He had Stephin Merritt of Magnetic Fields as his DJ, so i finally got to meet the man. We talked neighborhoods and he spun candy-colored tunes in the glittery room. I have always felt at home there.

Other highlights of the evening, Claudia Gonson, in the flesh, actress Anne BOOBY, and that foxy Peri Lyons, all front & center for the reading. It was the first chapter and hearing Neil zig where he wanted to and zag where he knew he should, made the story that much richer for me. Me and everyone else, I suspect.
Charles and Jill from Comic Book Legal Defense Fund appeared like superheroes in the New York night to vend the Neverwear tees. Thank you so much, you two. A major chunk of profits from the sales will go to the CBLDF.

After the dizzying dinner at Sasabune, where I tried my first (and last) oyster, and was shamed into eating more than i could, I went back to Beauty Bar to meet Charles and we hung out with miss Joey, our lady of e. 14th street.

In the music business, we say a record "drops" on first day, not sure the terminolgy for books, but the Graveyard Book debuted on September 30th, making it a Libra like me. Just look at these beauties:

Neil signs in blood-colored ink, bought on the way to the event:

Neil signs

New York sure makes 'em goodlooking, the patient line waiting to get in to reading:

NY line for reading

on to the city of brotherly love (anyone, what does this mean?)
Kyle Cassidy, in this small world, turns out to be the photographer for Ego Likeness, my buddies, Steve & Donna. He took this photo of us after our Indian dinner in downtown Philly. We look very happy and full, (from right to left) myself, Gardner Dozois, Michael Swanwick and Mister Neil, as Shelley calls him.

Neil Gaiman

Kyle took this one sneakily and I coveted his fancy camera. Such a Nikon girl, i am.

dinner in philly

As we touched down to Chicago, we had, bar none, the smoothest landing I have ever had.

here is a view of Chicago from the plane, i love this city:

view from the plane

then my favorite of all, the vintage Tivoli theatre in suburban Chicago, they sure had their Halloween on inside, gravestones and cobwebs, all layered in a fresh popcorn scent, perhaps no better combination for me.

Tivoli theatre

As Neil did his reading each night, the voices he chose became expected and familiar. I listened as the audience became a part of the background, breathing as a unit, laughing together, spellbound. My favorite part though, the Q & A he did nightly, answering the little index card questions that people turned in. I learned so much about his process, the card questions turning out surprises each night. His humor shone through every turn, the man is a steadfast miracle.


Our girl Elyse took us to dinner in the hotel, Brady our faithful videographer...let's not forget Jill Thompson (how did I not get a photo of this lady?) the Palin/Biden debate went on without us, we tried to watch some recap on the hotel bar TV but the various sports feed drowned it out---hmmph.

and me Drew was in town with the Tina Turner tour, just in time for me to get sick sick sick ...we rented a spectacular sports car to zoom around in. Here he holds open the backlift in his Graveyard Book tee:

Drew in a GYB tee

we stayed in the James downtown, parking to the tune of 40 bucks a day, more than we rented the car for, ouch.
this hotel had room service for pets though, and a gorgeous red fainting couch which I lounged on, getting through my viral illness.. ...watched HBO's True Blood on the plasma screen, still haven't turned in my verdict in on it but vampires are always watchable... always.

Chicago hotel

pet menu

so I was too sick to attend the Beck show at the Aragon, sorry Rabbit. Now I am back in Minneapolis, Quiche is taking good care of me, with her kitten Kali at her side. We will do some photos and post more, tomorrow is the last night of the US Graveyard Book reading tour and we will be there...grateful for this amazing opportunity, thanks so much.