ECLECTIC ARTS

ECLECTIC ARTS

Monday, January 25, 2016

Bleachbear Gig Review - 1/23/16

Bleacherbear
Mason Turner and The Reign
Siahna


1/23/16
Fremont Abbey Arts

Greetings!

Here's my write up on the Bleachbear gig from last night.  It was sort of a pre CD release for their upcoming second full length, "Cowboy Movie Star" due in March.

For those that have been following Eclectic Arts for the past year, Bleachbear will be a familiar name.  I wrote a lengthy piece on the Sound Off competition where they were one of the four finalists.  I also wrote a detailed review of their debut CD, "Lost Parade". 

And if you've been looking at the EA expansion online, then you viewed the in person video interview conducted before their gig at The Funhouse in April of 2015.  Not to mention the three live clips from said gig as well.

My alter ego - Seattle Next Door - completed a photo shoot with the band last weekend as well (a few examples are included in this write up).

Oh, and I was wearing my Bleachbear t-shirt last night but I think it was obscured by my jacket.  Fan boy you say?  Perhaps.  I'd prefer to think that I'm supporting a local band that I happen to think has tremendous potential.

Before I get on with the review, I'd like to thank Sara (from Train Wreck as well as Little Sara and The Night Owls) and Anna (from SND fame among other things) for checking out the gig for another perspective outside of my own.

I had never been to the Fremont Abbey Arts.  I had commented to Sara that I hadn't been on Fremont Ave here in Seattle, WA in a few years.  A community based arts center, Bleachbear have a long history with the business, having started their career there back in their middle school years.

An all ages affair that was billed as a CD release (of sorts) - I suspected there would be a great turnout of family, friends, and classmates.  And there was as in a sold out event! 

Opening the evening was Siahna, a local young singer who was a contestant on NBC's "The Voice".  While getting over being sick, she took the cramped stage promptly with an accompanying guitarist.  She ran through a short but sweet set of cover tunes.  You couldn't tell that she was sick other than when she spoke in between songs.  Full of power and emotion, she delivered a fine vocal performance.  I was off to the side in the front where most people were listening to her performance.  But, unfortunately at these types of shows, the opener never has the full attention of the audience.  The din from the back of the room, where people were talking, catching up, etc was quite loud.  I'd love to hear her voice in a quiet setting to truly hear the nuance of her vocals.  A good start to the evening.

Next up were Mason Turner and The Reign.  A local four-piece band, the band was clearly enjoying themselves.  There were parts of many of their songs that were very mature for their ages.  All four members had a good command of their instruments.  A special mention to the other guitarist in the band for the tasteful slide guitar work on the "Summer" tune.  I noticed your work.  One of my guests said the band was entertaining but not their cup of tea. 

My one recommendation is that, when opening or in the special guest slot on a bill, stick to your songs.  Make a point.  Make a statement.  The lengthy guitar solo (hey, don't get me wrong, I'm a guitarist too so I understand the solo aspect of the live performance) at the end of the second tune was unnecessary.  You could of played anywhere from half to another full short tune in that time.  Keeping things concise is key for openers.  You'll have more impact on those checking you out for the first time (like magazine editors).  If it's your gig (i.e. headlining), solo all night long if you so choose.  Just a small recommendation.  Overall, I enjoyed their performance.

Bleachbear started off their set by debuting their new music video for, "Somnium".  Shot back in December 2015, the tune was inspired by the dance scene from the ageless comedy, "Napoleon Dynamite".  The black and white video was visually interesting.  I'm not sure if the audience quite understood the vision of the storyline but it went over well with the crowd.

Immediately after, the band launched into a set comprised of the forthcoming second CD with two additions from their first release. 

Despite a poor mix for the opening tune (lead vocals were definitely too low in the mix), the band was all smiles, playing to the captivated audience, many of whom had seen the band before. 

Joining them on lead guitar for some of the tunes was Mason Turner.  Musically this made perfect sense, as there is lead work on the new CD.  So the sound was filled out for sure.  Visually, this made no sense but I understand why he was there.  Is there another female family member that plays guitar perhaps?  J

While the crowd sang along to parts of "Astoria", the set was the usual for these gigs I've come to understand:  short.  After running through the majority of the new CD, "Cowboy Movie Star" as well as "Astoria", the bands vocalist/guitarist came back for the first encore solo.  Tigerlily grabbed the bass and did a haunting rendition of, "Stop Holding On" from the first CD.  Hearing her voice with only the bass provided the best sound mix of the night.  Also, the crowd had silenced so every nuance could be heard.  For me - this was the highlight of the night.

Emiko and Bird returned to finish the encore with the up-tempo tune, "Sunken Submarine".

The band exited the stage to much applause and the gig was in the books.

Miscellaneous notes: 

One thing I noticed VS the other two performances I've seen is that Emiko was doing more of the in between songs banter than before.  Whether this was on purpose or not, it did help enforce that this is a band.  I'd have Bird say a few things from the drum kit too in the future just to round things out.  The power of a trio.

I'm big on vibe when it comes to musicians and/or bands.  I noticed it at the April 2015 gig and this one as well - Emiko has a vibe going on.  The bass is pumping through the songs, she's fully into the music, dancing to the tunes, and it shows.  It's that indescribable character - some people call it the "it" factor.  I've never been fond of that term but in the same way that bassist Cliff Burton had his own vibe going on when he was raging with early Metallica, Emiko has a vibe, too.  It would not surprise me if she ventured off on her own in the future to do her own solo project. 

Bird's timekeeping has improved.  The drummer is the engine in the band and if the engine is all over the place, so is the band.  It was great to hear things getting tighter and that was due to the drumming being the backbone of the tunes.  Good stuff!

Another note is the mix last night.  Tigerlily's vocals were getting overshadowed in the mix a good part of the night.  Even when she was belting out the high notes, the instruments were fighting with the vocal mix.  By the last few tunes, things were in check.  Mixing bands is always a tricky beast, which I understand.  I purposely listened to the entire set from back of the audience, pretty much dead center, just so I could hear the nuances.  But this is a minor picky thing.  Anyone that's heard my own music duo knows we've had our own fair share of mix issues for sure.

Overall:

This was a very enjoyable night of local music.  A great turnout helped with the energy in the room.  As always, I would of loved to have heard a longer set but this seems to be the norm for these shows. 

I'm looking forward to the CD release in March.  Look for my review of the new CD very soon!

As always, if you haven't checked them out, what in the world are you waiting for? 

Bleachbear.com


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Seattle Next Door - 10th Anniversary!

Greetings!

It's been quite awhile since I updated this EA blog.  Today marks the 10th anniversary of Seattle Next Door - photographer for EA.  And for those that have been following EA - you also realize SND is EA.

Confused?  You shouldn't be. 

This rare SND interview was conducted in 2012.  Look for a new EA interview very soon. 

Enjoy!
Mark
EA

***

Interviewer:  Asti
 
1. First, I have to ask - What made you pick Seattle Next Door as your professional working name? Is there a story behind that?

Greetings.  Thank you for the interview.  Well, I have to say that there is quite a long story about how I got involved in this whole photography thing.  The short version is that I fell into it via a former co-worker.  He had asked me to take a few headshots with his point and shoot camera one day.  He was setting up his own business at the time and needed the headshots for his website.  He and his wife liked them and it was his suggestion that I try to find models to do model photography.  Please keep in mind I was doing NO photography whatsoever at this time - no landscapes, animals or anything else.  So I was like, "no way!" (laughs). 

A few weeks later the same co-worker asked me again if I had considered putting up an ad on Craig's List to find models.  Again, I said no but that night, I went home and thought about it some more.  Craig's List was a fairly new site at this time, too.  For whatever reason, I thought, what the Hell, and put up an ad.  When models started answering it, that's when everything got very real to me.  I had to either go through with what I had started or disappear into oblivion.  Obviously, you know which decision I made if you're reading this.

When I made the decision to actually go through with doing model-based shoots, I knew I needed a name, website, business card, etc.  It took me a good few days before I settled on Seattle Next Door.  At the time, I was envisioning my work to be of models that were very girl-next-door types, you know?  So I changed the word girl to Seattle and Seattle Next Door was born.  Also, it fit because I don't live in Seattle, but near it in Edmonds.  I also knew that I never wanted something as boring and mundane as Mark Images or Sugiyama Photography.  I wanted something bigger than that - more artistic and creative based, as well, especially considering that's the type of photography I do.

I initially wanted the photography to be a part of a bigger whole - a media house - a company that had photography, music, web design, etc.

And a little tidbit that not many know - in my wishful thinking at the time - I picked Seattle Next Door because I thought if this thing took off, I could replicate it in other cities around the country, even around the world.  Portland Next Door, LA Next Door, Tokyo Next Door, etc.  This hasn't happened….yet (laughs).

2. How long have you been doing photography?

Well, as what I would call a profession, it's only been over six years.  I did dark room things in my younger years and some landscape things here and there in college.  But the whole model based photography started in September 2005.  I'm proud to say I've done over 600 shoots in that time.  I've worked very hard at my craft.  I do not consider it a hobby or a weekend thing.  I take my work very seriously - but I don't take myself seriously at all (laughs).

3. Almost all of your shoots are done outdoors. Is there a reason why, i.e. better lighting or personal preference?

In the beginning, I think every photographer works outside because they don't have a studio to work out of.  Being just the kind of person I am, I like the elements of the outdoors.  I like the variety that the outdoors brings and I also like the challenge.  There are so many variables outdoors to deal with that it's rarely if ever boring.  The studio environment offers control - something the outdoors does not.  Some photographers thrive in that safe, controlled, studio environment.  Not me.  I'd rather face the challenge that the outdoors holds every time, whenever possible.

Having said that, I have done a number of indoor shoots - many more than people realize.  I like doing indoor work, too, but if I had my choice - it would be outdoors at a cool location. 

4. A great deal of your work has also been with models. Do you think there will ever be a time that you decide to change your focus and stop using models?

I'm sort of torn about this question.  I get frustrated, like most photographers who are a part of this "internet modeling/photography" generation, with the bullshit that comes with the territory - basically, unprofessional people.  With shows like "America's Next Top Model" the modeling industry has really exploded - but with that explosion has come every girl who ever had even a remote inkling of stepping in front of a camera claiming to be a model.  They have no respect or idea what it takes to model - even on a local level.  Modeling is hard work.  Just like every occupation, you have to pay your dues and many of these new models types just can't be bothered.  It shows in their work, their images, and how they conduct themselves.  Common courtesy is completely lost on many of these so-called models as well.  It's really a shame because there are a lot of strong, committed models on the local scene - but these "flakes" as they're known in the industry are tainting the good models in the area. 

So I go back and forth.  If I ever stopped photographing models, I would most likely just stop period.  I wouldn't move to landscapes, animals, or event photography.

5. Speaking of models, is there anyone you have a close working relationship with? Anyone in particular that works well with your artistic vision? If so, what do you think is the success behind that working relationship?

Oh wow - this is where I could get in trouble (laughs).  I mention a few favorite models over the years and someone who I didn't mention would be like "hey Mark, why didn't you mention me?  Don't you think we did good work?" (laughs)

But, to answer your question, let's see.  Off the top of my head - I would say Anna.  She was the first model that I did repeat shoots with.  She helped elevate my work (and I've told her as much) early on and if I had not met her, I don't know where my work would be today. 

Another model would be Jade.  She is a master artist of her own designs.  Such a gifted person, not only as a model, but a designer, seamstress, makeup artist, wig master, goodness the list goes on and on and on.  We have a great working relationship.  While our personalities are different, we always (well, almost always) have the same vision for where we want a shoot to go - how to reach the goal.  I will take one path, she will take another, but at the end, we end up where we wanted to go.  It's absolutely a creative chemistry thing with Jade and I.

Gosh, there are so many talented models that I've been able to work with.  Sarah E and Iona L both worked with me a few years back  - both incredible figure models.  Poses and poses for days on end.  Ultimate professionals.  I learned a lot working with both of them.  They helped me step up my game.

Jenniffer also comes to mind.  I don't think I've ever had such a creatively charged working relationship with any other model.  It's hard to explain.  As people, the shoots were "easy" to do.  But creatively we were both such strong creative forces that when you put us together, it was like two magnets, you know?  (laughs) 

Man, just too many others to mention!

6. I’m sure there’s spec-nerds out there who may want to know - What kind of camera do you use?

I'm a self-taught photographer so the spec nerds are going to be disappointed.  I think what may (or may not) surprise some people is that I don't use a SLR.  My work has been done to the best of my ability with a mid level camera made by Fuji.  So if you want to talk specs, lenses, and all that, I'm the wrong guy.  Sorry!

7. From a strictly professional standpoint, Seattle is a fairly small city to work in for any artist. Not that that’s a bad thing exactly, but we aren’t exactly NYC or LA either. Have you ever considered moving to a large city to gain more high-profile or lucrative opportunities, or is that something that has even interested you at any point in your career?

Interesting question.  I was born and raised here in Seattle.  I love it here and I will always consider it my home.  But, for the right opportunity, I would explore other avenues or cities.  Photography is something I have a passion for - to release my artistic energy.  But it's not something I view as a business per se.  So, the idea of moving somewhere else to further my career doesn't appeal to me.  But, again, if someone liked my work enough to offer me an opportunity elsewhere, I would absolutely consider it.

8. Are you working on any major projects at the moment? Anything coming up that you are excited about working on?

I am currently working on my first series.  It's called "All Through The Years".  It is a series that reconnects me with the models I've worked with over the years.  I've been fortunate enough that I must have done something right since the beginning of my career, that when I ask models who have since retired to work with me again, they in most cases have said yes.  That makes me feel good  - that they had a good experience(s) working with me and think enough of me to come out of "retirement" and get in front of the camera one more time.

Granted some models I'm still working with but others I haven't worked with in years - in some cases were talking four or five years!  In modeling years that's like eight or ten!  (laughs).

So far I've done three of these shoots and they've all been fun!  I'm trying to get at least one model from each year that I've worked - starting with 2005.

9. That’s all I got. Thanks for your time, Mark. Any closing thoughts?

Thank you for taking an interest in my work.  I really appreciate it!



Sunday, May 31, 2015

The LEX Experience!

Greetings!


I'm very honored to publish one of the first interviews with an up and coming musical artist:  LEX!  I caught their show here in Seattle back at the end of March and was intrigued by what I saw and heard.  Check out their site here:


LEX Official Site!


The following interview is with vocalist Alexis.  And remember - you heard about them here before they blow up big time!


Cheers!
Mark
EA


***


Thank you so much for the honor to be interviewed by Eclectic Arts! - Alexis/LEX

EA:  Greetings!  Thank you for taking the time to do the interview.  Please introduce yourself as well as your band mates that make up the entity known as LEX!

A: WE ARE AN ALL FEMALE SYNTH FANTSY BAND MADE UP OF ALEXIS, LP, LICIA AND J.

EA:  How did LEX form (history)?

A: THE DARKNESS COVERED THE LAND. ITS FOG SEDUCED, CRAWLED AND SUFFOCATED. DREAMS WERE DESOLATE – PLEADS TO THE STARS. THE QUEST BECAME CLEAR; THE EMPRESSES HAD TO COMBINE THEIR POWERS TO OVERCOME THE VOID. AS ONE, THEIR JOURNEY BEGAN – FOR THE ILLUMINATION OF THE UNIVERSE. THE COMBINATION OF THEIR POWERS, ARTISTRY, INNOVATION AND ELECTRONIC EXECUTION IS LEX.

EA:  What music background do each of the members have?  Influences?

A: WE ALL COME FROM A JAZZ BACKGROUND AND HAVE ALL COME TOGETHER UNDER THE INFLUENCES OF BLADE RUNNER, LABYRINTH AND THE NEVER ENDING STORY.


EA:  What is the connection with Daft Punk?  How has it been a help in your career?

A: GRAMMY AWARD WINNING PETER FRANCO PRODUCED THE SONGS ON OUR LEX EP AND HE IS BEST KNOWN FOR ENGINEERING THE LAST TWO DAFT PUNK ALBUMS. HE HAS BEEN A HUGE BELIEVER AND SUPPORTER IN US SINCE THE FIRST MOMENT HE HEARD THE LEX MUSIC. FROM THE DAFT ARTS TEAM CEDRIC HERVET DESIGNED OUR LOGO, PAUL HAHN HAS GIVEN US GUIDANCE, SAM COOPER PROVIDED US WITH VINTAGE ANALOGUE SYNTHS TO MANIPULATE AND PLAY WITH ON OUR ALBUM, TODD EDWARDS LENT US HIS STUDIO AND HIS SKILLS ON SOME OF OUR SONGS, AND PETER FRANCO CONTINUES TO PUSH US, ADVISE US AND SHARE HIS BRILLIANCE WITH LEX.

EA:  You recently completed a mini tour of the west coast.  How were the shows?  How was the experience?

A: IT WAS INSPRING AND MOTIVITING TO BRING THE LEXPERIENCE TO THE WEST COAST.


EA:  Your EP comes out on May 5th.  What can you tell us about it?

A: IT IS A COMBINATION OF VINTAGE AND FUTURE SOUNDS.  PUT IT ON, TURN IT UP, LAY ON YOUR WOODEN FLOOR AND LET IT ENGULF YOU.

EA:  Your first single is "Mystery Boy".  How did this song come together?  Will there be a music video for it?

A: THIS SONG CAME AS A CALLING TO OVERCOME A VOID WE WERE EXPERIENCING. IT WAS THE FLICKER OF LIGHT THAT WAS TO START THE JOURNEY .

THERE WILL BE A MUSIC VIDEO AND LEX AND THE ZAMORA SISTERS ARE IN THE CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT STAGES.

EA:  You EP came out on 5/5 - and you held a listening party with a Q&A.  Tell me how that went?  Also, will a CD version be released?

A:  IT WAS A REALLY WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE.  SONOS STUDIOS DOES A FANTASTIC JOB AT SUPPORTING ARTISTS AND NURTURING VISIONS.  WE WERE ABLE TO TRANSFORM THE SPACE COMPLETELY INTO OUR LEXEXPERIENCE WHICH INCORPORATED OUR VISUALS, INSPIRATIONS, SHOW PIECES, AND OUR MUSIC.  THE EP IS AVAILABLE ON ITUNES, SPOTIFY, RHAPSODY, AND AMAZON.


EA:  I also thought I read somewhere that you did a photoshoot for Vanity Fair?  What was the shoot for (an article?), how was the experience, and what issue will the photos be seen?

A:  WE HAD THE JOY OF BEING PHOTOGRAPHED BY ONE OF THEIR PHOTOGRAPHERS DURING A PARTY AT COACHELLA WHO WAS THERE TO CAPTURE THE EVENT.

EA:  For someone that's never heard LEX - what would you tell them about the band, your sound, etc?
A: LEX IS A COMBINATION OF FUTURE AND PAST.

EA:  What's coming up in the future for LEX?  More touring?  A full length release?

A: CREATIVITY, EXPLORATION, COSTUME DEVELOPMENT, LIGHTING EXECUTION AND EMPOWERMENT.

EA:  There's an air of mystery surrounding the band (in terms of there not being much out there on you which includes the fairly vague website).  Was this intentional?  What is the vision for the band?

A: EVERYTHING WE HAVE DONE SO FAR HAS BEEN INTENTIONAL. IN AN ERA WHERE EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING IS ACCESSIBLE, WE FEEL IT IS IMPORTANT TO LET THE MUSIC SPEAK FIRST.

Crypticon Seattle 2015 Report - Calling Lost Angels!


Crypticon Seattle 2015
May 22nd, 23rd, and 24th
Hilton at Sea-Tac Airport and Conference Center

Greetings!

The skies bled red, rats owned the streets, and my Memorial Day weekend was once again sacrificed to the Gods that run Crypticon Seattle!

This being the fourth consecutive year that I've covered the convention for my magazine Eclectic Arts (print, blog, and now video), I was looking forward to seeing old friends, meeting new friends, and spending three days forgetting that I have a day job.

The ever-familiar row of hearses lined up outside the parking garage at the Hilton has become a welcome, and oddly, comforting fact that I'm back at Crypticon.  Is that weird?  I think not.

  
Said day job delayed my arrival on Friday.  I picked up my press credentials on the third floor only to find that they were specific to each entity this year - a nice touch.  However, upon closer inspection, I discovered some thief calling themselves Electric Arts had taken my passes!  It was actually a typo, folks.  I know how much work goes into things like a convention so something as small as a typo on my passes is going to happen.  No biggie at all.  I've been called a lot worse over the years.  But, for new readers sake, it's called ECLECTIC ARTS - due to the eclectic nature of the artists I cover.  Just so everyone knows.  I suppose Electric Arts could be like a reference to amplification or something.  Nah.  Onward!


Other than one guest cancellation for Friday recently, all of the guests were present at their tables on Friday evening.  The crowd seemed bigger than in recent years which was nice to see.  For those that panel it all weekend, Friday provided topic panels only, along with films for viewings later in the evening.  This was the same course of action last year as well (no guest panels on Friday).  Parties all three days were on the schedule as usual, too.

It was nice to see Bill Mosely and Sid Haig again in Seattle.  I saw them in 2011 for the now defunct ZomBCon.  Both were as down to earth as ever.  

Twin Peaks fans were drooling over the fact that both Sherilyn Fenn and Sheryl Lee were in attendance this year.  With the third season of the show filming in the fall, there is a renewed interest in the show.  And, of course, with it being filmed in the North Bend, WA area, that certainly adds added interest for sure.

Ted White, best known for portraying everyone's favorite hockey mask wearing killer, Jason Voorhees, in Friday the 13th Part 4, the Final Chapter, was in attendance this year.  One of my favorite films in the series, I was looking forward to chatting with Mr. White over the weekend.  And at his table - did I see hockey mask replicas like his character wore in Part 4?  Oh man - my wallets going to take a beating this year before the convention closes.

The layout this year was changed from previous years.  The biggest change was that the guest panels were all moved to the main Hilton building - which means you had to head down to the ground level of the conference room building (vendor room), walk across the breezeway, and then find the various rooms.  In the past the three rooms between the vendor room and the author alley were used for guest panels (and topic panels, too). 

Other than convenience with the old layout, the new changes were an improvement in my eyes.  One - the Alpine room had better lighting.  Still not ideal but at least it wasn't so off putting that in the past I wondered if I had a tumor when I walked into those old panel rooms.  They seemed a bit bigger too but that may have been my imagination. 

The waiting area was a vast improvement as it was a huge hallway between the new panel rooms and the gift shop.  So there was really no congestion whatsoever.  The old panel rooms used to get packed with folks waiting outside the doors as earlier panels finished up.

Other than the Sunday Brunch changeover taking longer than anticipated, the new set up should be considered for next year as well in my opinion.

I left Friday after checking everything out, knowing that Saturday and Sunday would be very full days.  One of these years when I have some extra cash, I'm going to stay at the hotel and partake in the nightly festivities, as I know I'm missing out on a whole other aspect of fun at Crypticon.  One of these years it'll happen.


I arrived Saturday at 11am, met my assistant, and then took in a few panels.  A few family members were also attending on Saturday so it was sure to be a fun day.  I had my eye on the Twin Peaks panel that Steve Lange was going to moderate.  The Devil's Rejects panel that moderators Tony Kay and William Biven were going to co-moderate.  And the Soska Sisters panel that T.J. Tranchell moderated this year.  Any other panels were going to depend on my time and interests.

I walked around the vendor room, taking in more of everything than on Friday evening.  The usual wares from repeat sponsors like Arakus Productions (heavy metal opera), Nightmare at Beaver Lake, and Champion Party Supplies to new artist tables.  There's always a wide variety of dark, gothic, and horror related vendors at Crypticon. 


The display for Christine - the car from the film and book of the same name - was also set up in corner of the vendor room.  A wide display of memorabilia, books, film posters, etc was all set up around the perimeter of the car booth area.  Package deals were there where fans could take a picture with Christine - either posed with or pretending to be attacked by Christine. 

After a spin through the author's alley of folks, we ventured over to the panel rooms to hear the Twin Peaks panel.  A full room greeted Sherilyn Fenn and Sheryl Lee.  Steve Lange, being a huge Twin Peaks fan, moderated the panel.  Well, I don't know if you could call it moderating.  He said a quick introduction and then turned it over to the audience for a Q&A, interjecting a question or two of his own when needed.  This format was fine as the audience had more than enough questions to last the hour-long panel.

Both actresses were funny, polite, cordial, and blunt at times.  They talked of the upcoming new season of the show; things related to David Lynch, and a few other non Twin Peaks projects.  A very entertaining panel - particularly if you're a fan of the show.


Next up - the returning Soska Sisters - Jen and Sylvia.  Having guested at Crypticon 2014, the twins returned to a very dedicated fan base.  They hit the ground running, constantly talking, laughing, swearing, and telling stories of upcoming projects and anything else the audience wanted to hear about.  The lights in the room went out for a brief moment - which was kind of spooky as it seemed planned - but nothing happened other than the lights returned.

The sisters were very genuine - genre fans themselves - who are working their asses off to turn their love of horror into a career.  They're getting more and more popular - and judging by how they treat their fans - there's a distinct reason for their popularity (see my Sunday interaction with them further in this report).  


The third panel hour for me was spent at, arguably, the best panel I've ever been to at Crypticon.  The Devil's Rejects panel has five actors from the film, celebrating its tenth anniversary.  Bill Mosely, Sid Haig, Ken Foree, Michael Berryman, and William Forsythe sat at the panel table for the next hour.  And what an hour it was!

The chemistry amongst the five actors was impeccable.  They were clearly on friendly terms with each other, much like getting the "old gang" together.  Co-moderators Tony Kay (hi Tony!) and William Bivens (hi William!) kept things moving.  But with five characters like all of the actors mentioned, they didn't have to moderate much. 

The actors told stories to the audience about the making of the film, funny goings-on during certain scenes, and shared so many memories that I was actually laughing out loud like I was at a comedy show. 

It was such an entertaining panel - it made me want to watch the film again immediately (I did this on Saturday night).


After that high note of a panel, I ventured back into the vendor room for the remainder of the day. 

I watched people take pictures with Clint Howard and his prop from his film "Ice Cream Man".  I wish I had done the same as I decided to wait until Sunday to get a photo with Mr. Howard - but he ended up departing early (I believe he wasn't feeling well - based on what he said at his panel on Sunday).

Some of my family members got photos with Michael Berryman, William Forsythe, Sheriyln Fenn, and Sheryl Lee.

The convention seemed packed again - and not just because it was a Saturday.  It seemed like there were more people in attendance this year than last.  I'd love to hear numbers if anyone from Crypticon could confirm attendance this year.

I made the conscious decision that I would make my rounds with the guests on Sunday.  My assistant from Saturday returned on Sunday so she got a double dose of Crypticon this year compared to last year.  The originally scheduled Sunday assistant was under the weather as was Friday's assistant.  But things worked out in the end, thank goodness.

Sunday for me started with the Clint Howard panel with Tony Kay moderating.  Coming from a show business family, I was sure Mr. Howard would have plenty to say about his career as a character actor since the age of 2.

Mr. Howard was matter of fact, like he knew what he wanted to talk about ahead of time.  Tony did a great introductory piece and kept the panel moving.  It went by really quick.  Those of us in attendance got to hear many stories of some of the legends Mr. Howard has worked with over the decades.  It was rather mind boggling to hear in person.

Mr. Howard apologized that his voice was tattered from the three days of talking at the convention - which is why I believe he left early once the panel was finished.

After the panel, it was back into the vendor room to talk to the guests.  First target - William Forsythe.  Besides "The Devil's Rejects", I have always associated him with the TV series "The Untouchables" where he played Al Capone.  One of my favorite underrated series, Mr. Forsythe told me how he got to know over 100 family and friends in Al Capone's circle.  Think about that for a minute.  He spoke with people that were around Al Capone.  Incredible!  He also mentioned that all of them spoke highly of Capone - that he was a very likable person - not how he was exactly portrayed in the film version of "The Untouchables" or the Robert Stack TV version.

I had heard William was either very, very nice or at times a bit difficult.  I'm happy to report he was the former.  He couldn't have been nicer to me or to anyone else I saw him talking with.  I know he's been at Crypticon before (but I wasn't in attendance that year) so I'm sure the convention folks already knew he was a great guest to have.


Seated right next to him was Michael Berryman.  Seeing that everyone was asking him about 'The Hills Have Eyes", I wanted to ask him about something different:  his appearance in the Motley Crue music video, "Smokin In The Boys Room".  Michael talked about his agent saying there was a music video being made that a company wanted him for.  The band was Mutley Crue.  He thought to himself what kind of name is that - Mutley Crue?  Once he was on the set, he found out it was Motley Crue.  Michael said that the ending 4 seconds of the video when he wiggles his ears was cut from the video but due to fan demand, it was cut back into the video.  Little did I know that wasn't a trick as Michael wiggled his ears for me.  I wish I had video taped that with my phone!  He said the guys in the band were great and he has fond memories of making that video.

During this - William Forsythe was listening in.  He chimed in that back in the day, he used to bounce at the Troubadour (club on the Sunset Strip in LA) and threw Motley Crue out of the club more than once.  He then added that about two years ago, he met Vince Neil (singer of Motley Crue) and Vince said "great to meet you finally - I've been big fan for a long time" to which William replied, "we already met - I used to throw your ass out of the Troubadour motherfucker"!  Great story from William!


I snaked my way back over to Sherilyn Fenn's table.  Since 1992, I've been a huge fan of the Gary Sinise version of "Of Mice and Men".  So, I had to talk to Ms. Fenn about that film!  She was very glad to hear someone wanted to hear about that film as she loves it dearly.  It was the film that made her feel like a "real" actress!  We talked about the differences between her version of the character and the book, that I used to have the movie poster in my classroom, and that she was perfectly cast in the role.

I then brought up the subject of her writing - specifically her blog.  She hasn't written in it since 2014 and I asked her if she planned on changing that.  She said she knows she needs to write again as it's something she loves doing and it's very therapeutic. 

If you haven't read it, check out the entry from late 2014.  She writes about a very dark period in her life.  I found it so raw and real that I couldn't help but relate to it (when I was going through my own dark times in my life).  I told her about this and she was genuinely moved and understood the importance of what she may consider just a blog entry, is actually reaching out and helping others in the world.  That's powerful stuff, folks.  Perhaps she'll start writing in it when she has down time in between takes filming Twin Peaks this fall.


Sid Haig was next for me as he had a line - again.  Sid has slowed down (perhaps due to his recent health issues) but the man's been around forever it seems.  I love that he wrote "I'll fuck you up" on my 8x10.  After I got a quick photo with him, he excused himself to go to the restroom.  His assistant also went up to get Benadryl from his room as he was coughing quite a bit.

Odd aside to mention but I was in the bathroom stall taking care of business.  The stall next to me, a guy walks in with big black shoes - shoes that I recognized belonged to Mr. Haig.  He was coughing as well.  How weird is it that here I am taking a dump and next to me Sid Haig is taking a leak?  I don't know - I found it weird but cool I guess?

I heard a fan near the sinks bugging Mr. Haig with a gazillion questions.  Dude, ask a question or two, and then let the man get back to his table.  Or, better yet, wait until he leaves the restroom before asking him questions.  Mr. Haig was polite enough but then even he had to say, "I have to get back to my table - there's fans waiting". 


I went back to the vendor room to talk to Clint Howard only to find he had left.  The Soska's, who had a line most of the weekend, still had one.  So I made my way over to Ted White's table.  Dressed up all three days like a gentleman, I introduced myself and talked to Mr. White about Corey Feldman - who was in Friday the 13th Part 4 The Final Chapter with Mr. White. 

If you watch interviews with the director of the film, he says nice things about Corey.  If you see interviews with Mr. White, he says the kid was a brat that drove him crazy.  So, I had to find out what Corey was like from the man himself.  Sure enough - Mr. White didn't like him.  He said that Corey was a nightmare to work with, not only for the actors, but for the crew as well, just a crazy, arrogant, kid actor. 

He mentioned he did a convention with him a few years ago and that at the panel, half of the audience walked out.  True story apparently.  It's kind of sad that as an adult he hasn't changed much.  Mr. White did add though that as much as Corey bugged him, he did like his performance in the film.

We talked about what it was like working (stunt doubling) for John freakin' Wayne and Clark Gable!  Just unreal the legends Mr. White has worked with.  The scope of film history really became apparent when talking with Mr. White.  It was a pleasure chatting with him.  

I had debated about getting one of the replica Jason masks (due to cost) but then decided I needed one for my wall.  Part 4 is one of my favorite films in the series anyway so what the Hell?  My wallet didn't want to talk to me for the rest of the day, though.



At this point, I was getting ready to wind things down.  I saw that the Soska's line wasn't so long so I stood in that.  Tony Kay chatted me up a bit while I waited.  He was trying to use the opportunity to get pics/chat with the guests as well as had been doing panels all weekend. 

The Soska's do what smart bands do when they're coming up.  They plant seeds by taking the time to talk with their fans in a sincere and fun way.  Hugs abound, whether they know you or not, constant comments (in my case about my tattoos), and pictures sandwiched between the two of them.  They did this with every fan.  They took time to talk with every fan at length.  Their fan base is growing because the fan's feel like they are one of their own that are making the films that genre fans love.  I didn't quite get why they were back after having just been here last year.  I get it now.  They're awesome good fun!

 
It was time to head out as I had another commitment that Sunday night. 

This year's Crypticon was a good mix of guests as always.  There is always a friendly, familiar convention vibe there that I always enjoy.  Every year I attend, it feels more and more like home.

Major kudos to the organizers and all the hard work they put into making the convention a success every year!

As I put my signed photos on the wall of my home, I feel a little sad that I have to wait another twelve months before the convention is back.  But, before I know it, the skies will turn red once more - announcing that Crypticon 2016 has arrived!

Cheers!
Mark
EA

Want more Crypticon Seattle reports?  Check out my previous reports:





Saturday, April 25, 2015

Bleachbear, Kathleen Parrish, and The Female Fiends 4/23/15 Review

Greetings,

I find myself playing catchup after a productive week and weekend.  I'm on my way to experience Nightwish and Delain tomorrow (which will have a gig review) so I thought I best get this review up prior to the Fins and Dutch infiltrating my mind on Sunday evening.

For those that follow EA, you already know I've written two pieces on the local Seattle band Bleachbear.  One was a gig/contest review and the other was a CD review.  Find them here:

SoundOff Report w/Bleachbear

Bleachbear "Lost Parade" CD Review

For my third piece, I conducted an interview this past Thursday 4/23/15 with the band prior to their gig.  Find the interview here:

Bleachbear Video Interview

Of course this means this is the gig review.  Onward!

The gig was held at the Funhouse Lounge at El Corazon (the new home for the formerly defunct Funhouse) on Thursday evening.  For those that know the club, the Funhouse now run the lounge side of El Corazon.  Being an all ages show, they had the bar sectioned off and the main area open. 

An intimate setting which proved effective compared to the main stage side of the club which would have been too big/sparse.  There was no gig on the main stage side either so that meant no sound bleed through which was a welcome sight.

I was conducting the interview with the band as the first band took the stage so I only saw half of their set.  The Female Fiends are a four piece from Kent, WA.  They played a really enjoyable mix of alternative with some guitar work that reminded me a bit of bands like The Cure but without the Robert Smith mopey vocals.

Their songs were well written and they were a good start to the evening.  You can find them on FB and Band Camp.

The Female Fiends on Facebook

The Female Fiends on Band Camp

Next up was Kathleen Parrish - who I understand organized this gig.  Kudos to you Kathleen for doing this!

A four piece with Kathleen Parrish as the front woman, it's really hard to describe their music.  It reminded me at times of like a mix of indie with adult contemporary tones (especially the vocal delivery).  That description isn't on the mark but it's all I can think of right now.  Backed by a band of guitar, keys, and drums, Kathleen performed a set of tunes that showcased her vocals and songwriting.  While different than The Female Fiends, she was equally enjoyable.  Plus she's from Edmonds (my current residence) so she gets extra points for that!

They have a gig coming up in May at the Firewheel Coffeehouse in Everett.  Check the official site for more information.

You can find Kathleen Parrish here:

Kathleen Parrish Official Site



The last band of the evening was Bleachbear.  After some issues with Tigerlily's (vocals/guitar) pedalboard, the band played about a half hour set of original tunes - a few I recognized from the SoundOff performance. 

The band at times seemed like a different band than what I saw back in March - in a good way.  Some of that had to do with where they were playing (a more comfortable straight forward gig - not a competition), some of that had to do with the fact that they just finished up an EP of tunes in the recording studio, and some of that may have just been the night.

The band was in fine form - the mix was a little off (especially with the background vocals - sound guy could of punched those up a bit more) but overall, the band sounded really tight.  And I need to point this out - Emiko (bass/keys/background vocals) really stood out.  I didn't notice in March just how much the bass is pumping all over the place - even with the solo bit in one tune.  Some artists come out of their shell when they hit the stage - Emiko is one of them.  She has her own vibe on stage - dancing and swaying to the music while bopping around the neck on the bass.  Impressive!  And thank you for playing bass with your fingers - (pet peeve of mine when I see a bassist using a pick).

Bird (drums/percussion/backing vocals) seems to have grown a bit as well.  Her drumming tonight was playful but more on point than in March.  Playing her own kit may have helped with that instead of having to use a backline kit (like at the EMP gig).

Tigerlily's made the best of one effects pedal in her arsenal and it really wasn't noticeable from an audience standpoint.  Singing and playing while dancing to the songs, she was definitely more at ease at this gig and it showed.

The band as a whole seemed in sync, more focused as a musical unit, and it made me eager to hear this new EP and how their sound has evolved.  

My only complaint?  The set was short.  I guess I'm not up on these all ages type gigs - I think every band got the same amount of time to play to make it fair (correct me if I'm wrong).  I'm used to the normal set times:

Opener:  30
Special Guest:  40/45
Headliner:  Hour to 2 Hours (depending on number of bands and sound curfew)

Oh - and my other complaint - the red lights the Funhouse/El Corazon uses on the right side and rear.  Emiko and Bird were bathed in red light the whole set while Tigerlily had the white spotlight on her.  Clean that up Funhouse people - or at least mix it up a bit.  

By the time you're reading this, the band have a gig on Sunday 4/26/15 at the Crocodile so catch them if you can. 

In May they are playing at the Folk Life Fest (they're scheduled for Saturday the 23rd - time/location TBD - schedule comes out online on May 1st).

Keep up with the band here:

Bleachbear On Facebook

Bleachbear On Bandcamp

Bleachbear On Instagram

A very pleasant night of music by all three artists!

Mark
EA 

Video Interview #2 - BLEACHBEAR!

Greetings!

We're on a roll - please check out video interview #2 - local Seattle artists BLEACHBEAR!

Cheers!
Mark
EA



Tuesday, April 21, 2015

DOYLE (ex Misfits) Video Interview Numero Uno!

Greetings,

EA has finally entered the 21st century - aka video interviews.  Up first:  Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein.  Check it out!

Cheers!
Mark
EA