Monday, March 7, 2011

Marching Orders

I'm blogging again. I hope to do this once a week, as the new title of this thing, KaraokeFanboy Weekly, kind of implies. Here you'll find a compilation of writing, old and new, some photos from my phone, favorite videos, and newish poems in the sidebar. Here we go.


What's on the Mantle, part 1
originally posted as a Facebook note on March 6, 2011

I have a fireplace now. Consequently, I have a mantle, and that's much more important to me. I love Sherlock Holmes, and I have very vivid memories of the Jeremy Brett Holmes (the definitive film incarnation, in my opinion) perusing his mantle at 221B Baker Street for past cases' mementos.* Of course, a painting of Reichenbach Falls hung over the fireplace to celebrate Holmes' greatest triumph, his faked death and the defeat of Professor Moriarty . . . but I digress. I'd like to decorate my mantle with such trinkets, seemingly random objects that boast some story about me, if anyone cared to know. When I scored the keys to my new abode, I already had the first items in my backpack, ready to break it all in:


These are the latest treasured trinkets I've collected, from "The Adventure of the Birthday Party Feature." In January, after the weekly Pink Slip Poetry Slam at Jobot, one "Mark Susan" approached me and praised my poetry, specifically "Dear Lady Gaga's Meat Dress." I was ready to dismiss his praise with my usual self-doubting humility, when Susan asked insistently, "Would you perform at my buddy's birthday party later this month?" The offer was as flattering as it was just plain weird. As I documented on my other blog and via Facebook, I certainly did perform, and Mark expressed his appreciation with a six-pack of Fat Tire (my favorite beer) and these "R"-inscribed cufflinks.

"I don't even know if you have a French-cuffed shirt, but here you go," he offered.

That night was also significant as the inaugural Tombstone Poetry Slam, where I came off two recent out-of-town slam victories only to score a whopping FOUR for "Man-Church" (oh, which caused two attendees to leave the birthday party, too), and where I saw Patrick Hare read for the first time. My friend Ian (who would play a better Holmes on television than I would, for the record) agreed to drive to the birthday party afterward, a perpetual gift for which I'm always grateful, and of course that night was my first real date with Jess, too. So, these cufflinks represent the fast-paced pulse of a fun, memorable evening. That they even have an "R" on them makes their significance even more personal. Somebody valued my poetry enough to ask me to share it with his friends, and in turn I had friends that supported me.

Yes, I'm a sentimental fool, but, rest assured, I know if all of this stuff burned down tomorrow, the memories attached to that smoldering heap are what's most valuable and irreplaceable, anyway. I am putting these things on a mantle, after all, where they'd be most exposed to flame. Because I have a fireplace now.

*Superman's Fortress of Solitude and Batman's Trophy Room in the Batcave are also good examples of my heroes' irrepressible sentimentality, and why it's so ingrained in me as an adult, thank you very much.


In a Jack in the Box bathroom on Mill Avenue in Tempe, Arizona.


For the Love of Paper
originally posted on LiveJournal on April 5, 2009

With an entire afternoon and evening to myself, I went on a whirlwind tour of Southern California creativity yesterday. It started, as many recent Saturdays have, at the Frank & Sons Collectible Show in the City of Industry, best known as the comics and sports trade show where O.J. Simpson was planning on selling the stuff he was stealing back from the people that stole the stuff from him -- or something like that. Anyway, ever since I cataloged my comic book collection a few weeks ago, I'm determined to fill in some holes before I take on any new series or storylines, so I was grateful to discover a few gems in the multitude of quarter-priced back issue bins, including Jim Krueger's The Foot Soldiers #4 and The Sword of Solomon Kane #2, illustrated by one of my favorites, Bret Blevins. Of course, I couldn't resist one or two issues I certainly didn't need, but for their flagrant uniqueness, including Ted Seko's Billy Cole #2, about a talking baby trying to recruit some wrestlers to help him fight the evil in the world, illustrated with the stark black and white contrast of Frank Miller's early Sin City. Issues like Billy Cole #2 make the craft of comics seem easy and difficult all at the same time -- which can also be said for trying to buy them with scrutiny.

The highlight of the day came at dusk, when I went to a poetry reading hosted by the non-profit organization Beyond Baroque in Venice. A few of the acquaintances I've made at my local poetry reading were featured, so I went to both lend support to local talent and broaden my horizons. I wasn't disappointed in either case, as I experienced poets' work I wouldn't have seen otherwise, and as the performers I knew delivered incredible vocal interpretations of their work. I'm featuring at a local coffeeshop in just a month, now, on Cinco de Mayo, so watching the way others present their poetry has inspired me to take twists I wouldn't have considered before. Further, in the Beyond Baroque gift shop, I found whole racks of chapbooks and zines that utilized the small press medium in ways I haven't seen for a long time -- not since my last trip to the Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco in '07. In fact, many of those self-publishing efforts exceeding anything I've seen before, not only in the sophistication of their content but in their craftsmanship, as well. From the use of label makers and envelopes as slipcovers to folding and binding techniques -- I've just now begun to self-publish confidently, with my monthly poetry zine series and my forthcoming Karaoke Comics #1, and beholding these others' works have already inspired me to raise my game. Now, if only I had a place to put these finished products . . .

In April, it's rare to hear anyone talk about their New Year's resolutions, but I'm proud to be fulfilling mine -- my desire to maintain my creative efforts, and create tangible results. I've already produced a mini-sketchbook, three poetry zines, a few single page comic strips (called "Vs. Current Events", found at my other blog), and with Karaoke Comics #1 on the horizon, I feel like a viable artist. The biggest lesson isn't in the output, though, but in the consumption. The more I'm surrounded by these mediums I love, and the more I purchase pieces of choice, the more I want to contribute to them in some way. Goes to show, you have to spend a little paper to make something of value on it, eventually.


Yard said...

Russell - Jacob here. Do you copy?

Glad to see you're blogging. I've got it on m'RSS, if you will. So...I'm trackin'.

This year has inspired art in me, and I hope to once again collaborate.


KaraokeFanboy said...

Got your message loud and clear, Jacob. Collaboration to come, I hope! I may FB-msg you a list of open mics in the Valley; if you have time to check one out, let me know. Always cool to see what the neighbors are up to, y'know?