Friday, May 29, 2009

What I've been up to...

I've been busy.

Haven't blogged much over on this side of the blogspot, my personal Larry side, this 11th Tier site. But that isn't because nothing is going on - pretty much it's exactly the opposite.

Where to start... the good and the bad. I'll start with the bad. Whenever I am asked that question I always choose to hear the worst first - that way I can get it out of the way and absorb it, move on to better news. Kind of my approach to art projects too - if I have a stack of projects in front of me I like to tackle the biggest one first, get it out of the way. That way I'm not dreading it the entire time I'm working on the other, smaller projects.
But I digress...

The bad. I lost two pets over the past month. First, and hardest, was my beloved dalmation, Kelly. This is the finest pet a man could ask for. Best dog I ever had - best dog in the world. She was old, blind, deaf and losing her bowel control. We put her down and it was the hardest thing I've ever done.

Second, was my cat Sara. Sara was a male who we named mistakenly until a vet trip for spaying revealed to us that, no, Sara can't be spayed because HE has to be neutered. Gulp. Too late - the name stuck. They called him Mr. Sara at the vet. Well Mr. Sara passed away this past week. Went missing for several days, we feared the worst. I came home from work last Friday and knew immediately that he was in the house - somewhere. I searched, and finally found him behind my son's dresser where he had crawled to die. I just saw the tip of his orange tail sticking out of the back of the dresser. He was old, and frail and his time had come.

So I buried both pets at my mother's house, which is out in the country a bit. They have a nice little pet cemetery going. Morbid as it is, the Ramones song did pop to mind afterwards. Both pets are missed, but particularly Kelly. She will always be my baby girl and I think about her every day.

I missed Wonderfest this year. I was unable to attend and really hated not being there. I missed the show but most of all I missed all the great friends I have who I only get to see once a year at Wonderfest – friends like Bob Burns, J. Sorrels, Frank Dietz, Dave Conover, Donnie Waddell, Dave Colton, Eileen Colton, Tim Lucas, Donna Lucas, Kathy Burns, Gary Prange, Joe Busam, Harry Hatter, Jim Clatterbaugh, Marian Clatterbaugh, Kerry Gammill, and so many more that there is no way I could possibly list everyone, as well as all my friends from down this way who attend annually. It's like a big family get together and I really missed it.

Now on to the good...

Missing Wonderfest was necessary because at that time I was at my son's high school graduation! Actually, we had multiple graduations to celebrate - my wife graduated from college and my oldest son graduated from High school. I am SO proud of them both. My wife graduated magna cum laude, and we went to both their graduation ceremonies this past month, as well as an elementary graduation ceremony for my youngest son. Three graduations in a month! Huzzah!

Another fun offshoot of the Wonderfest weekend was the winning of a Rondo Award! Myself, Cameron McCasland, and Linda Wylie (Nurse Moan-eek) were all given Rondo awards for the series of PSAs we did last year in our "Go Green with Dr. Gangrene" campaign. It's just such a great honor to be recognized by our peers for the work we do, and I want to say thank you again to everyone who voted for us, and to David Colton and everyone at the Rondo Awards for the nomination. Cameron collected my statue for me and it now resides on the shelf next to my other Rondo (for Best Website).

I've been reading quite a bit. I read four complete collections of EC Comics: The Crypt of Terror (Vol. 1 of Tales from the Crypt), The Vault of Horror Vol. 1 & 2, and Haunt of Fear Vol. 1. These collections of EC books from the 50s are awesome. I LOVE EC comics. GREAT stuff.

I also read a biography on the Ramones called "Hey Ho Let's Go The Story of the Ramones" by Everett True. Great background on the history of the punk pioneers.

I've watched a BUNCH of movies - first I was on a western kick, and watched several Sergio Leone Eastwood movies - Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and the Good the Bad and the Ugly. I seen all these multiple times, but they were just as good this time around and I saw them in letterbox form off dvd, so they were really enjoyable.

Then I somehow got onto a Dario Argento kick, and watched several of his films: Tenebrae, Phenomena, Do You Like Hitchcock and Trauma. I still have one more that I plan to watch soon – The Card Player. I like all these movies, but my favorite of the bunch still has to be Phenomena.

I also re-watched ZOMBIE, the Lucio Fulci classic, just because I was in the mood for it.

And now lately I have become hooked on the TV show LOST. I was recently loaned the first season, and it sat on my vcr for about a month before I finally popped in the first disc. Now we're hooked, and my wife and youngest son and I all sit and watch two or three episodes a night. GREAT series and I can't wait to see where they're going with it!!

I saw Wolverine, Star Trek and A Night at the Museum 2 at the theater. I really enjoyed them all, but surprisingly liked Star Trek best of the three. I wasn't expecting to like it, honestly. But I went in open minded and other than a bit of a hang up about the time travel method I was okay with this reboot. They managed to reset the series without totally invalidating the original adventures, which was important. These are the same characters but set upon a new path with totally new set of circumstances, familiar yet different. Ought to be a fun franchise to watch – Gene Roddenbury would be proud, which is probably the best compliment I could give it.

I started a new video project. It is a series for youtube that I'm calling the Recommended Movie of the Week - not really a review but more of me as Dr. Gangrene highlighting a movie each week that I like and highly recommend. You can find them over at both my Gangrene blog and my youtube channel. I've done 6 so far as well as one other video showing off some of the goodies folks have given me over the years. Got a couple more of these coming up too.

I did a cameo for the new George Demick zombie movie DEAD START - George asked me if I wanted a part in his movie, and I told him I would under one condition... I wanted to be a reporter on the scene talking about the zombie epidemic, as an homage to horror host Chilly Billy Cardille who did the same role in George Romero's Night of the Living Dead. So he agreed, and in fact really liked the idea. I even named my character Russ Bramming, an amalgamation of names of both of Nashville's former horror hosts Ken Bramming (Dr. Lucifur) and Russ McCown (Sir Cecil Creape). Makes me smile to think of that, and I hope someone out there catches that when it comes out on dvd. There was a tremendous turnout that day - 500 people showed up to be zombies. 500 people! and they took names to prove it. Was quite a sight. I got killed by a mob of zombies led by a zombie belly dancer - yeah! There is a clip on youtube of my scene that was shot and posted by fellow horror host Dr. Pureblood who was a zombie extra in this movie. Good stuff! More on this movie as it gets closer to release...

And last but certainly not least, I have started a band. This is a project that I've directed a lot of energy toward the past couple of months, but which I'm REALLY enjoying. The band is called SPOOKHAND. The name comes from a nightmare my oldest boy had one night when he was about two or three. When we got him calmed down and asked him what was the matter he said, "There's a spookhand waving at me from the closet." Creepy! When we were searching for names for the band I remembered that story, and threw that name out there. It stuck, and here's the logo for the band.

It is a horror punk band, kind of Ramones-ish in flavor. All the songs are, of course, about monsters and horror movies and assorted fun. What else? There are five members: Steve Die on Guitar, Grim Jim Vegas on drums, Roamin D. Graveyard on guitar, J. Ghouls on bass, and me, Scary Larry on vocals. We practice once a week at a GREAT practice space in Nashville called Rockin Rande's Garage (if anyone in the Nashville area needs a great practice area drop me an email and I'll get you his info) and we recently played our first show at my friend Troy Guinn's (of the Exotic Ones) Birthday Bash. Went over well and everyone really seemed to like it. We added a new song just this week, which brings our total of originals to ten, I think. We have a show coming up at The End next month on the 17th.

This is something I've always flirted with but never pursued. After the Ramones/Misfits cover set I did last year (with Jeano of the Creeping Cruds as the Coffin Burys at last year's Horror Hootenanny show) I got the bug and really wanted to pursue it more. I figured hey, if I don't do this now, I probably never will. So I posted a Craigslist ad, got a few guys who responded, and ran with it from there. So far it's been a ton of fun and we do have a myspace page with songs up now – you can find it by typing simply

And besides all that I have a couple of other projects in the works that I'll talk more about in the near future... so yeah, I've been busy. But you know what? It's been a fun couple of months, and I look forward to an equally fun summer.

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