Archive for: December, 2004

Interview w/ Michael Whelan • Artist

SM: When was the last time you had a wild night in a strange city?

MW: I saved this question for last in case I had such a night before I was through with the interview. Ah, well. I’ve had wild nights in familiar cities, and so-so nights in strange cities, but I’ve yet to have a wild night in a strange city.

SM: If you were to illustrate yourself going somewhere in a time machine, what would you be sure to include?

MW: Gold, drugs and guns would be the necessities. Convenience items would have to include toothpaste, soap, and a comfy pair of durable boots.
Of course, I’m assuming what you mean is a space-time machine. A time machine in itself would be worthless. If you went even a short span either forward or backwards in time you would find yourself off the planet’s surface. You’d be in a part of space not occupied by the spinning Earth as it speeds along its orbit around the sun, which itself is traveling through space at great speed.

SM: Please recommend some components to combine together to revive a dying dream.

MW: I recommend a hero, an intelligent alien, and a woman who is a fallen saint or clairvoyant.

SM: Please describe the cadence of your voice to someone who has never heard it.

MW:Short arcs of thoughtful consideration amid eddies of hesitant affirmations, accented by splashes of inquiry giving rise to the occasional linear declarative. Often followed by a backwash of reconsideration amid eddies of floating conclusions and doubts bumping into one another.

SM: Please regale us with an anecdote.

MW: There are things which we won’t really believe unless we experience them directly. Ghosts, UFOs, out of body experiences, life after death, and other mysteries are all things we hear about but disbelieve unless we live them ourselves…sometimes even then one can have doubts about what happened. For most reasonable people then, such things remain unanswered questions. Isn’t it great, then, when you can cross one those doubtful items off that list and say, “ This question is answered for me. I know this is real”?
When I was in college I heard about a fortune teller who, for ten dollars, would not only reveal important details about your future but give you a way to make some money. For example, he gave someone a sequence of numbers to bet on at a casino roulette table which were all winners. A friend of mine went for a consultation and he got the numbers all right. Unfortunately, he also was given a list of dire predictions for his next year, predictions that seemed too over the top to be believed. Well, to make a long story short, during the next several months every prediction came true. Meanwhile, however, I went to see the fortune teller. His opening comment to me was ”You are anxious to get some money. Well, don’t worry, you’ll be getting a check in the mail tomorrow.” After that, he related a series of predictions which were so specific and so accurate that they erased any doubt I may have had about the possibility of clairvoyance. I know now that true clairvoyance is a reality, that at least one person on Earth truly has it. Of course, once you have accepted the existence of such a thing it opens the door to acceptance of other metaphysical things, but I try to be as skeptical as possible.
I have yet to be convinced of UFOs or ghosts, though the fortune teller did say to me that I have spirits who are always near me. But unless I meet them myself…
I did get the check in the mail, by the way.

SM: When was the last time you were overcome with a sense of wonder?

MW: Yesterday’s sunset. Staggering. This happens often enough to make life worth all the bother.

SM: When was the last time you looked up at something important?

MW: The moon, a few nights ago. After all, it’s responsible for tides, women, and werewolves.

SM: Barring a funeral or wedding, when was the last time you found yourself in a church?

MW: Paul Winter’s solstice celebration at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in NYC, this December 17th. I love hearing music in cathedrals, and with all the lights off, one is free to feel the spaces with senses other than the eyes. It’s as close to a dependably mystical experience as I know of.

SM: When as the last time you gave in to a minor temptation?

MW: I’ve been addicted to sunflower seeds since my little league days when I was 12. I swear them off regularly; I just had some more a few hours ago. The salt is the thing.

SM: What was the first thing you thought to yourself on waking up this morning?

MW: What time is it?

Interview w/ Chris Funk • Musician “The Decemberists”

SM: Please recommend a phrase to speak aloud before going down with a sinking ship.

CF: How about a speech? “Have struck an iceberg. We are badly damaged! Crew, as we near our watery graves, I must declare you have been all over the world, and it is not too much to say that you have destroyed and driven for protection under neutral flags one-half of the enemy’s commerce, which, at the beginning of the war, covered every sea. This is an achievement of which you may well be proud, and a grateful country will not be unmindful of it. The name of your ship has become a household word wherever civilization extends. Shall the name be tarnished by defeat? The thing is impossible! Remember that you are in the Atlantic Ocean, the theater of so much of the Naval glory of our race, and that the eyes of the world are at this moment upon you. The flag that floats over you is that of a young republic who bids defiance to her enemies whenever and wherever found. Show the world that you know how to uphold it! However I regret to admit that the waters that near our feet are entirely my fault.

SM: Where was the last place you were really surprised to find yourself at?

CF: Answer: Tales of Robin Hood in Nottingham, England. Said to be by the locals “the UK’s greatest medieval adventure, historical tourist attraction, and grand medieval banqueting hall”. Amazing theme ride – skip the actual castle in Nottingham and get to the real after party with Maid Marion et al in the bar above the gift shop.

SM: Please recommend some components we could put together to turn ghosts back into men.

CF: As far as I know, ghosts can never be turned into men, however at 100,000 points one may be awarded an “extra man”, unless you are playing Ms.Pac-Man in which case you are awarded an “extra woman”. Though, come to think of it, the later of the aforementioned yellow disk “person” is not so gender specific considering the games calls the heroine “Ms.” and “Man” in her/his same title. Strange. Ghosts I have seen re-form after being eaten and do so in that box in the center of the game. I don’t know how they do it, but I suppose the answer to your question is inside that box, and I’m willing to wager if Pac-Men or Pac-Women or “Pac-Its” was allowed to come and go as they pleased in that box that they could become ghosts and Pac-people as they pleased.

SM: When was the last time you took a good long look at your shoes?

CF: 2 weeks ago driving from Paris to Santander, Spain. Shoes: Palladium-brand-army-like-boots, night after show in Paris, me hung over and cold in our small touring van and “them” covered in Donner Kebab yogurt sauce and dog excrement from walking about in the Pigalle at 2 a.m.. Oh beautiful Paris, beautiful touring.

SM: In the middle of the interview, an anecdote is requested.

CF: When I was 10 my parents took me to see Liberace perform in Gary, IN. In the concert hall lobby at the merchandise table fans could purchase an “oil print” of The Queen himself and have it autographed in person. Of course I had to have one to show all the kids who were listening to Pat Benatar or Men at Work back at school, “Then I would really fit in!”, I suppose.
After his show stopping performance, we were led by his body guards and 30 other audience members back stage where we waited in line for 2 hours. Upon meeting The Elton John of Easy Listening, my mother blurts, “This is MY SON Chris, and he PLAYS THE PIANO and wants to play JUST LIKE YOU!”.
Before I knew it, I’m lead onto a dark stage by my mother, father, Liberace and his bodyguards where a cubic zarconion jeweled piano awaits my performance of the worst rendition (by memory mind you) of Moonlight Sonata from yours truly.
Sorry, that wasn’t so short, perhaps I should have told you my “meeting Evil Knievel” story?

SM: What song would you play for the devil at a party in hell?

CF: Liberace’s interpretation of “Beer Barrel Polka”, from his album, respectfully titled, “Songs My Mother Taught Me”. A classic that would insure me a ticket back to the living.

SM: If you had to be buried with a photograph, what image would you choose to carry to the grave?

CF: Photo of the Donner Kebab I ate in the former East Berlin; amazing yogurt sauce, perfect foccia like grilled bread, and “salad” topping which resembled sour kraut but tasted like onion rings. Simply amazing.

SM: What was the last circumstance you found yourself in that left you with a sense of mystery?

CF: Waking up in London hotel room with clothes on, still drunk, covered in Donner Kebab yogurt and chile sauce.

SM: If you were to paint a roomful of your great grandson’s enemies, what would you make sure to include in the portrait?

CF: The helpful staff of Contintal Airlines at George Bush International Airport Houston, TX. They are a loathsome lot who will never touch my children’s’ children!

SM: Please compose a brief poem or haiku on the subject of your choosing.

Continental Air
do us all a favor and
go out of business

Interview w/ Missy • Founder, “Suicide Girls”

SM: Do you have anything you carry around for good luck?

M:I have carried items through out my life but I lack the follow through to actually keep them with me forever. Maybe it is an inherent lack of faith, growing up without religion, or maybe I just don’t fear living life with out a talisman. I do like the concept though and do carry sentimental items with me from time to time. I am not sure that it is for luck or if it is just to remind me of a happy time or of a person I love. I am between items right now. Someday, I am sure that I will find something that I will carry with me for awhile, until I forget again. Does that make me fickle? or just destined to have bad luck?

SM: When was the last time you had something unfortunate happen to you in a strange city?

M: I was on a boat from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap in Cambodia. I am ordinarily not a fan of boats but this was the most desirable option to get to Angkor Wat and I figured I could handle it. I was traveling by myself and was content reading on the deck and pretending that I was not on a boat for most of the three hour journey. As we approached the harbor all of the passengers, mostly tourists, started queueing on one side of the boat to wait for their luggage. We were still a ways out from the dock and the people who lived in the make shift shelters along the banks of the river were wading in the shallows and the air was ripe with the smell of a sewer. As the line increased people became more hurried to get to the right side of the boat to be first in line to get their packs. All of a sudden the boat started to capsize and people began spilling off the edge of the boat and into the rotting water below. I grabbed what I could so that I wouldn’t fall in and held on for dear life. Unfortunately it happened to be the exhaust pipe of the boat. My fear of the water was greater than the searing pain in my left hand and I held on until a portly German couple were able to scramble their way to the opposite side of the boat and ballast was restored. I made my way down the two by four plank that was the dock and onto the mud I was surrounded by hundreds of touts. Hands grabbing, touching, screaming to “Pick me Madame, Come with me!” I couldn’t see the ground below me or the sky above only hands, wanting. I felt short of breath and the pain in my hand was starting to take hold, as my vision began to go black, I just screamed. I managed to push people out of my way, barely able to reach the railing by the boat to steady myself and hung my head, just breathing. Not my finest moment, but on top of all of the other misfortunes I had endured in the last twenty minutes, I thought better of passing out. I was a woman traveling alone in a third world country and didn’t want to test my luck seeing as I didn’t have a good luck charm with me then either. As I was leaning over the railing breathing heavily, an elderly Cambodian man next to me touches me on the shoulder, smiles and says “Freaking out” in his broken English.
His name was Chunn and in that instant I immediately calmed down. He took me to a hotel, got my hand bandaged up and was my tour guide for the rest of the trip. I ended up having an amazing time and making a new friend, but it did start out rather bumpy.

SM: If you were to illustrate a field full of crows, what would you make sure to include?

M: Wheat and the infinite horizon. The nearly colorless sky that happens in the moment between daylight and darkness. I would make one of the crows staring directly at the viewer while picking over something in it’s mouth. Crows are scary.

SM: What is your first reaction to the sight of an airplane in the sky?

M: Joy. An airplane means a new adventure and I can not get enough of those. I want to see the whole world one day.

SM: Please describe an especially memorable time at the ocean you’ve had.

M: The ocean is a tempestuous mistress. When I was four years old my Dad was sea kayaking and I was playing in the sea foam on the shore. His boat tipped in the wake of an enormous wave and he was jostled out of the boat. I ran into the water to grab a float that had fallen out of the boat and was washing up on the shore. The ocean was getting rough and the waves were getting more violent. A wave came up behind me and dropped the boat full of water on top of me, pinning me to the sand and trapping me underwater. It was only a moment that I was trapped but I was terrified and remember the salt water stinging my eyes and filling my lungs as I cried out for help. The water receded and my Dad got the boat off of me but since then I have tried to give the ocean some space. It doesn’t like me and I am not so fond of it either.

SM: If you were to illustrate the most recent dream you had with only two colors, which colors would you use, and why?

M: Sky blue and red. I dreamt about a friend and everything was very nice and lovely and then we became very angry with one another. It was very odd. It ended in her leaving me a voice mail. I woke up wondering “Why am I dreaming about voice mail?” I think the message was that I need to unplug.

SM: When was the last time you lost something important and then had it find it’s way back to you?

M: I tend to be pretty obsessive compulsive when it comes to important things like keys, wallet, phone, ect. I check three or four times before I leave and I will have little freak out moments through out the day and take inventory. I don’t really lose things very often, I think it is a control thing.

SM: What is your first reaction to the sight of a staircase in a strange house?

M: I want to climb it and find out what is above me. Slightly afraid of the unknown but more intrigued to find out what people keep in their private living space, the space not seen by casual visitors.

SM: When was the last time you had any fun in the snow?

M: Probably three years ago, it snowed in Portland and it was the beautiful big soft flakes that take hours to float to the ground and I sat on my balcony and watched the snow fall for hours with a cup of hot cocoa all bundled up in a sweater and long johns. Then the next day I went to a friends house and helped her two year old daughter make her first snow man.

SM: Please compose a brief poem or haiku on the subject of your choosing.

The short girl wonders
What happened to all the light
Darkness fought with the right
(Link Contains Nudity)

Interview w/ Packard Jennings • Artist

SM: When was the last time you were involved in a successful prank?

PJ: A lot of my work can be called pranks, though I try to transcend the level of prank. The last prank I pulled was the “Day at the Mall ” pamphlets, which is a visual Anarchists guide to Utopia through through the act of rioting in a Mall. It instructs you on how to destroy the capitalist system, making way for a new Eden. I stuck them in clothing and books at the mall (all shot on spy cam). I eventually got busted by security when I threw a big handful off of the second floor into the main mall room. The penalty was expulsion from the entire mall area… for 24 hours. I think it is safe to say that I learned my lesson.

SM: If you were to re-celebrate last year’s birthday, how would you do things differently?

PJ: I have been trying to initiate a birthday standard involving the song “happy birthday”. This is a terrible song that we hear way to many times
throughout the year. I don’t know about your friends, but when we sing it, it is a dirge, and the person being celebrated just sits and endures it. I propose that it is the birthday boy or girl’s choice as to what song they want to hear (this can be the terrible “happy birthday” song for the traditionalists). It is much more fun to watch your friends struggle through “Wayward Son” by Kansas than to hear that fucking song. If I could go back I would change my selection of “We are the Robots” -Kraftwerk, for “Mr. Roboto” – Styx.

SM: If you were to illustrate your concept of what is actually underneath what we perceive the world around us to be, how would you go about it?

PJ: I saw a nice drawing by Sandow Birk where he had a cross section of a mall. It allowed you to see the subterranean propaganda rooms where “burn this flag” and “support our troops” bumper stickers were made.
Perhaps, for our current America, where 44% of Americans identify themselves as Born Again (including GW, Rumsfeld, and the now vanquished Ashcroft.), it would be some kind of ghostly drawing of the massacre that Jesus leads in Jerusalem as part of the Rapture. It would be quite a task to draw all of the crackpot perceptions that shape our reality. I would either draw that or a Unicorn dancing with kittens.

SM: Please describe your voice to someone who’s never heard it.

PJ: When I am happy it is high-pitched and flighty, like Mickey Mouse on helium. When I am angry, it is low and booming, like a thunderclap from the ass of God.

SM: Please regale us with an anecdote.

PJ: Antivenin or Crotalidae Polyvalent is excellent for pit viper envenomation, such as cottonmouths, timber rattlers and copperheads.

SM: Where would you take an amnesiac on their first day out?

PJ: Most likely an S+M sex club. Are they recovered?

SM: If you slept inside of songs instead of beds, in what song would you like to rest your weary head?

PJ: I already used “Wayward Son” above, “lay to rest your weary head and doncha cry no more”. That’s ok because I would be rockin’ way to hard to sleep. Probably a Nick Drake song, or Robyn Hitchcock.

SM: After you have shuffled off your mortal coil, where do you expect to go?

PJ: Being an atheist does not lend itself to the poetry that this answer is begging for. If there is a hell with the vengeful gods I have heard about, I will surely end up in Wal-Mart.

SM: What’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you in a moving vehicle?

PJ: Number one would be the expanded conversations that take place over a few days in an enclosed space. They have a beautiful and stifled importance. This is followed by a high-five by a passing Hell’s Angel as I was driving a 74′ Cadillac Coup De-Ville when I was 19. Third would be spinning donuts in a snowy Western New York parking lot.

SM: Please compose a brief poem or haiku on the subject of your choosing.

K-Mart sells sweaters,
I need weed killer also,
is this the future?

Interview w/ Wendi Koontz • Artist/Illustrator

SM: If you were to illustrate a silent windless grove of trees, what would you be sure to include?

WK: A pirate. And a honey glazed ham.

SM: How would you recelebrate last year’s birthday if you had the option?

WK: I’d remind people it was my birthday, it’s really kinda disheartening when everyone but your mom forgets you are turning 30. thats the kind of truth you’d just rather not know.

SM: What is the first thing you want to know on arriving in a strange city?

WK: Where the nice clean non-stinky bathrooms are.

SM: What do you seek out to remedy a need for spontaneity?

WK: A pirate and a honey glazed ham. oooh… and a cordless butane curling iron.

SM: Please regale us with an anecdote.

WK: This one time, when i was 6 yrs old, i found a bottle of nair in the bathroom closet, I didnt know what it was for, but It was a pretty shade of pink. Anyway, I read the directions on the back and just assumed that if this bottle of beauty fluid was telling me how to rid myself of facial hair then i must have a facial hair problem. so i slathered that stuff all over my face- forehead and all. then i waited. it only took a few minutes but my face started to BURN. i washed the stuff off but it only burned more, I ran crying and blistery to my mom who got the bottle and looked at the ingredients. My mom is a master of chemistry and she figured out by the chemical makeup of the hair remover that vinegar would neutralize the nair and stop the burning. it totally worked, my face was only a scabby red mess for a week or so- no scarring at all, but it really was so cool! see there, you get an anecdote, an antidote and a reason to pay attention in chemistry class.

SM: When was the last time you went on something you feel comfortable calling an adventure?

WK: 1999- i went to visit col. harland sanders ( you know… col. sanders of KFC) tomb in kentucky- amazing! there were even peacocks there. in march. in kentucky. wild peacocks just walking around. i took pictures.

SM: Barring their name or profession, what’s one of the first things you try to learn about someone after meeting them?

WK: How many illegitimate children they have. This is important because you really dont want to mess that number up when you’re giving a toast at their wedding.

SM: Please describe your face when you are trying to be serious.

WK: It kinda looks the same as when i’m sleeping, but my eyes are open.

SM: If we were sending a treasure chest to the bottom of the ocean, what would you want to put in it?

WK: Clean disposable diapers- cause that would be really spectacular when the seal starts to leak and the absorption starts taking place, and then i bet there’d be an huge explosion when the whole thing blows. and then the fish can use the diaper pieces to make their nests.

SM: Please compose a brief poem or haiku on the subject of your choosing.

I have a pattern
for how to turn a pig hide
into a football.

Interview w/ Julie Klausner • Comedian/Comic Artist “Animal Party”

SM: What joke would you tell the devil at a party in heaven to make him feel more comfortable?

JK: Is there anyone gayer than the devil? Maybe I’d tell him that to break the ice. If that failed, I would try an elephant joke. The ones that are funny because they’re not funny? Like “How can you tell if you’re sitting behind an elephant at the movies?” “You can’t see the screen.” Logic defies expectations in humor, and the devil knows that. He also knows about BARGAINS! Hello!!!

SM: If you were to recelebrate last year’s birthday, how would you go about it?

JK: You know, I actually had a great birthday last year. I wouldn’t do anything differently–in fact, it would be a pleasure to repeat it! I went up to Kate’s Lazy Meadow, which is a renovated Motor Lodge from the 1950’s that Kate Pierson of the B-52’s bought and renovated. It was adorable! The only drawback was having to pass Fred Schneider on the way over. Apparently he’d gotten wind of Kate’s idea and decided to start his own competing motel right across the street from hers. He was really rude about it. I was trying to get a parking spot, and he came up to me and started shouting “DON’T GO THERE! SHE’S GOT ROACHES!” in his devil-like punctuated baritone.

SM: Please recommend some components we could put together to revive a dying dream.

JK: I will, but not in the shameful “recipe” format that, for some reason, refuses to die among the teenage creative writing community. Wait a second—now I have to. Oh, Balls!

A cup of chutzpah!
A tablespoon of derring-do!
Two teaspoons of “Hey, how ’bout it?”
A dash of “What d’ya know, it’s Emily Watson! Wasn’t she fetching in
Punch Drunk Love?”

Stir all the ingredients together, put in a pan greased with love and joy and no racism at all, and bake until golden brown. Now, GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!

SM: If we gave you a sackful of money and a pointy hat made of newspaper, how would you spend the rest of the day?

JK: Eating pancakes. Pancakes are kick-ass!

SM: If it was really true that photographs steal a part of your soul, and in order to enter the afterlife properly, you had to get back all the photographs ever taken of you, what would you do to remedy the situation?

SM: Stock a think tank full of vampires and get them on the clock. You can’t take pictures of them, right? Maybe they can tell us how to do that retroactively. Even if they couldn’t, at least they would bring cereal. Nothing’s scarier than the prospect of no delicious cereal.

SM: Please regale us with an anecdote.

JK: One time, I zinged the Belz. Yes, THAT Belz. I was watching a taping of Letterman from the Green Room (impressed?), when, out of nowhere, Richard Belzer popped his head into the room and snarked to me, my boyfriend, the Grinder Girl, the Hula Hoop Girl, and assorted entourage of the show’s guests, “Well, this is a Motley-Ass Crew.” And I remarked back to him, “It is NOW.” He laughed, and said to me, “That was very good.” I zinged the Belz!

SM: Please describe an impressionable moment from childhood.

JK: Going to see Cats at the Winter Garden Theater for my birthday at age 7. It was mind-blowing. I remember thinking that God had somehow intervened in order to combine my two favorite things in the world: Broadway and cats.

SM: When was the last time you took a good long look at your shoes? Please elaborate, if possible.

JK: Elaborate on my shoes? Or on the hectic pace of day-to-day life? My shoes, right now, are Dansko Clogs. The hectic pace of day-to-day life is unfortunate, but lends us the ability to treasure our moments of respite.

SM: What was the last circumstance you found yourself in that left you with a sense of mystery?

JK: I remember thinking to myself last week, “If Angela Lansbury walked into the room right now, and she was wearing a beard of bees, would I still be able to recognize her?” I still don’t know.

SM: Please compose a brief poem or haiku on the subject of your choosing.

Ode to Gum
by Julie Klausner

Hubba Bubba?
Hubba Hubba!

Interview w/ Ray Caesar • Artist

SM: Do you have anything you carry around for good luck?

RC: I am not really all that superstitious Oh! yes there is a huge stuffed albatross I wear round my neck…I never take that off…then there’s the rabbits foot on my keychain….the monkey paw on my wallet…..a packet of Imodium…container of salt to throw over my shoulder….a single condom purchased in the last century… lotto numbers …My lucky Roman coin ( Heads I win, Tails you lose …)…the autograph of Ringo on my stomach I swore never to wash off for luck….”Blacky” my black Cat I walk on a lucky leash…….and my lucky Metamucil hat with the side mirrors to make sure I don’t step on cracks, walk under ladders or pianos on a rope…………….and a piece of paper with the proper pronunciation of Mr. Mxyzptlk’s name backwards.

SM: If you were stripped of your perceptions for a day (no sight, hearing, taste, etc.), how do you suppose your mind would react after the shock wore off?

RC: I would probably yawn..stretch go for a pee and make some breakfast because I would use the “No perception” time to take a long nap.

SM: If you were posed in a photograph to be displayed in a museum, what sort of photograph would you like to have taken of you?

RC: Absolutely in one of those huge 18th Century French silk dresses…powder Blue… like Madame Du Pompador wore…..and a fan …and a big huge dusted wig with a model of a ship of the fleet in the midst of the battle of Trafalgar….Oh! Oh! and on the deck of the ship would be teeny tiny porcelain figurines reenacting the Loony Toon classic “Should I shoot him now or wait until I get home”, in which Bugs Bunny convinces Daffy Duck to demand to be shot by Elmer Fudd.
Who can forget Daffy’s blood curdling “Shoot me now!!! Shoot me now!!!” followed by the blast of Elmers shotgun, causing the full 360 degree rotation of Daffy’s bill. It’s Shakespearean.

SM: When was the last time you noticed everything getting really quiet around you?

RC: This is a true story …In 1998 I had a colonoscopy, a rather lengthy procedure in which a very large volume of air is sent up your rectum to enable the easy insertion of a long flexible camera …..funny thing is its the air that causes discomfort and not the “Alien like flexible tube probing device”…. sort of like blowing up one of those long balloons that clowns make “balloon puppydogs” from …anyhoo! after the procedure they advised me to go home and rest but I was downtown near a big indoor mall and I felt bloated but otherwise fine… off I went to this mall called “Eaton Center” that had this huge rotunda with a fountain that would spurt a 50 foot spray almost to the ceiling………..well after the fountain did this it stopped which sort of makes the rotunda go quiet as everyone gasps at the shear beauty of Man’s invention. This is when I let out the loudest longest uncontrollable fart of my entire life as my bowel released all that compressed air like a CO2 tank with a open valve………the fart was quadrupled in noise due to the echo like acoustics of the Eaton Center rotunda…….its duration was almost inhuman……The general noise and chit chat from the entire North wing of this massive mall stopped as everyone’s attention was centered on me …………you could have heard a pin drop…..then I bolted!!!!… squeezing out a series of smaller sqeeky farts as I ran from the mall.

SM: When was the last time you had a case of insomnia, and what did you do to remedy it?

RC: I don’t get it much but if I do I generally take a nap. I find napping helps all kinds of things ….I wish more world leaders would nap before making big tricky decisions.

SM: When was the last time you had something unfortunate happen to you in a strange city?

RC: Got mugged in Toronto ( which is a strange city ) last year …. had a drunken guy and a few of his close chums hold a broken beer bottle to my neck and a knife to my ribs………got out of it by mentioning “I had a cake baking in the oven back home and that I would have to get a move on as baking cakes is a tricky thing” …I muttered on about the nature of the way dough rises ( I felt I was sort of using that old Obi wan Kenobi Jedi voice trick ).
The police caught the guy pretty quick ( I am a very observant person they told me ) …I had to go to court and sit for hours. He pleaded guilty and wasn’t really such a bad chap when sober ….just a bit of a temper problem…quite common really. The only fib in this story is that I haven’t a clue how to bake a cake or why yeast causes dough to rise! …..almost died in that one ya know..sure would have put the price of my art up, there’s a silver lining in everything I suppose.

SM: Please describe one of your most frequent daily habits.

RC: I generally watch a Voyager Star Trek re-run while I eat lunch. I am somewhat enamored by Captain Katharine Janeway and often fantasize about a brief encounter in her “ready room” or possibly a chance meeting when she is on an “away mission”. In my fantasy I am always some kind of alien with a very strange forehead….perhaps a witty Klingon or a handsome Ferngi……..I have often done a google search on Kate Mulgrew to see what she is up to lately…………I often send her poems and such like this:
Beyond the rim of the starlight,
My love is wandering in star flight.
I know he’ll find in star clustered reaches
Love, strange love a starwoman teaches.
I know his journey ends never.
His Star Trek will go on forever.
But tell him while he wanders his starry sea,
Remember, Remember me.

SM: If you were to illustrate a field full of crows, what would you make sure to include?

RC: Oooooh! that’s easy….. Tippi Hedren and a swingset.

SM: Please tell us what you would do if you spent a day no taller than a matchstick.

RC: I would spend that day hiding from my dog/coyote Bonnie as I am sure he would have great fun with a matchstick sized Me. I wonder if he would still sit if I told him too? I would probably make a pass at the wife too as there is a kinky aspect to all this that should be thoroughly explored…………..the only thing is I would need a matchstick sized smoking jacket, a cravat and a teeny bottle of champagne to get her interested…..and a little record player playing the soothing voice of Renzo Ceasana.

SM: Please compose a brief poem or haiku on the subject of your choosing.

RC: I am just gonna use one of Renzo’s poems as I used to be him before this particular identity I am now……..being immortal is not all its cracked up to be and its getting tricky to forge new social security info.

In dreams I kiss your hand, Madame, your dainty fingertips,
And while in slumberland, Madame, I’m begging for your lips.
I haven’t any right, Madame, to do the things I do.
Just when I hold you tight, Madame, you vanish with the night, Madame.
In dreams I kiss your hand, Madame, and pray my dreams come true. ”

Renzo Ceasana
The Continental circa 1952

I think I sent that to Kate just before I got the court order to stop harassing her.

Ray Caesar

Interview w/ Ryan Greis • Artist

SM: If you were to illustrate a rainy street at night, what would you be sure to add?

RG: I’d have to add deer. Out where I live, anytime there’s low driving visibility, I inevitably hit a deer. It’s part of the territory. I paint from experience. Actually, I like to shine a search light out of my car window in certain parts during my night drives. I like to catch the deer off-guard and let them know I’m about to pass them so that they have the opportunity to run in front of my car. It’s my way of saying, “Come play in front of my automobile. I want your ass up on my hood!” Birds and squirrels are another story. We have an understanding… what was the question?

SM: What phrase would you like to say out loud before you shuffle off your mortal coil?

RG: Is that what the kids are calling it these days? No, really… I guess you’re referring to death? I’d have to say, “There’s the rub!” No, that was Hamlet. I really don’t know what I’d say. I guess I’m in denial that I’m going to die. I’m trying to push it off as long as possible. So, to think of what phrase I would say would be drawing death that much closer. I’m going to have to pass (pun intended) on this interview question.

SM: If you could paint the bottoms of your feet so only the creatures who live in and below the earth could see your work, what would you paint?

RG: These are all very thought-provoking questions. I’d paint pictures of pretty female moles. This way, I could attract millions of male moles for miles to scuddle to the surface and follow my feet. In the process, the moles would actually till my soil. In fact, I’m going outside to do it right now. Be right back!

SM: When was the last time your life was changed by an encounter with someone else?

RG: It happened October 30th of this year. I got married. Enough said.

SM: Please regale us with an anecdote.

RG: Don’t mind if I do. So, I was in Maui on my honeymoon. My wife and I took a tourist boat to see some sights. It was on this boat that an instructor offered lessons on snuba diving. Not SCUBA… SNUBA. Instead of the oxygen tank strapped onto your back, it’s cradled in a little raft on top of the water. There’s a long tube going from the tank to your breathing apparatus.
Anyway, this Asian couple was in the group being instructed on snuba diving. On several occasions, the instructor had to explain instructions to this couple using hand gestures and simple words because it was obvious they didn’t know a lick of English. Well, it came time to dive. I went first and was hanging out about 20 feet below the surface. I could see the Asian couple, especially the lady, struggling to get the hang of breathing through an apparatus. Finally, they got situated and our diving instructor could begin our underwater tour. Well, a few minutes into the tour, he jolted upward. I turned around to see where he was swimming in such a hurry. Apparently, the Asian lady was drowning. She was only about 3 feet below the water’s surface. Her breathing apparatus had come out of her mouth and she was struggling to get to the surface. The long tube that provides oxygen was tangled all around her so she couldn’t extend her arms to swim. It was so surreal. I was witnessing a drowning from below the victim. That’s an odd angle to witness death. And the craziest thing was that her husband, who was next to her, wasn’t helping her. He had no idea his wife was drowning because his eye was behind a camera, snapping photos of fish in another direction. It sounds so cliché… Asian tourist with a camera. But, for God’s sake, having no idea your wife is drowning because you’re taking photos. Get yer goddamned eyes out from behind your camera! Sometimes, people need to witness the world around them face to face. Well, she didn’t die but the whole experience made me think… why do Asians take so many photos? I never see an Asian family get together and look through photo albums.

SM: When was the last time you took a good hard look at the moon?

RG: I always point out how pretty the moon is to my wife. I think she gets kind of annoyed by me for doing it constantly.

SM: What secrets, if any, do birds know?

RG: I’ve done a lot of bird research over the years. I’ve found out most of their secrets. For instance, birds know that one of them in my hand is worth two in the bush. THEY KNOW THIS! They can hold off pooping for days until they’ve found a freshly washed car. And finally, birds LOVE Clay Aiken. That was the most stunning find.

SM: If we gave you an unlimited supply of coins, (pennies, nickels, quarters, etc.) how would you spend your first day?

RG: I’d spend my first day rolling the f***in’ coins. Do you know how many LEXUS dealerships won’t accept jars of nickels?! Oh yeah, I’d also write you a thank you note.

SM: Please recommend a phrase for someone to jostle you out of amnesia.

RG: “Show me your hooters!” No, really. That phrase could wake me out of a cold death. If someone yelled that phrase, I would have not choice but to look to see where the hooters were. I could never go to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. I would get frustrated because I can’t physically catch every flashing moment. I’m really somewhat of a horn dog dirtball. Oh yeah, the birds know that secret too.

SM: Please compose a brief poem or haiku on the subject of your choosing.

Japanese tourist
Take photos of pretty fish
While your wife drowns

Interview w/ Isabel Samaras • Artist

SM: What do you like the best about your paintings?

IS: That’s kind of a toughie — how do you answer that without sounding like a big fat-head? “I really love what a totally awesome painter I am! Man, I ROCK!” I guess what I like is the moments where it feels like the painting gets close to what I saw in my mind’s eye, what I was striving for. If there’s places where the heat comes through, or the love or the humor, or some spot where I really nailed a tough bit of work, a hand looks right, that kind of thing. And I like being finished — when I’m done and I can *tell* that I’m done, because I could noodle around in there forever. (It has long been suspected that this is the main reason I glaze and varnish my paintings — so that I will have to stop working on them.)

I also truly dig how other people react to them and interact with them. The painting part itself is largely solitary (except for friends dropping in and then being cajoled into modeling). So when you finally get to show the work and hear what people think, that’s pretty sweet.

SM: What do you consider to be the most important thing about your work?

IS: For other people or for me? I try to keep kicking out the crutches, the things that I thought were totally important to my work or my style. In the beginning, when I was doing the old tin lunch boxes and some of the early tin tv trays, I painted black lines around everything. It was partly an homage to comics but it was also a way of fudging edges — I didn’t have to be a master painter ’cause you snap a black line around things and they just POP, they look great, it makes everything look very crisp and spiffy. Once I realized I was doing it to avoid having to deal with the edges of things in my paintings I slowly phased it out. And in so doing I had to learn how to be a better painter. It took a much longer time to give up on the TV trays — I was really conflicted about it. Is this what makes my work special? Is this what people like most about my work? It was scary to jump off the trays onto wood panels but it was totally liberating too – I wasn’t confined to the same shapes and dimensions anymore, I could paint big stuff, little stuff, round stuff, square stuff. Same again with oil paints – I’d been using acrylic forever, really felt like I had a handle on it, but I was ready to stretch. It was daunting tho’, the thought of using oils and sucking at it for a while. But Mark Ryden and Eric White were both very positive and encouraging and it’s been so worth it, oil paint is just phenomenal.

Which is a very long winded way of saying I don’t know what’s most important about my work, that to me it’s important to keep growing and reaching beyond what I think I can do. To find the things that I’m hung up on and get rid of them, so as to force the work to a higher level.

That said, I’d like to think that there are emotions at play in my paintings – they’re not cold or analytical, you’re meant to feel something when you look at them. So if I’m being totally honest then it’s actually important to me that my paintings evoke some kind of feeling in people, even if it’s just a chuckle or a little vibrating resonance.

SM: Describe the last stranger you saw who fascinated you.

IS: I kind of have a thing for interesting noses, so I always find myself staring when I see a great one. I’m so taken with people’s faces — I think I have to start working more real people into the paintings. The last stranger who fascinated me was just some guy on the street who had a great nose and who I instantly pictured in a costume with proper dramatic lighting and I very much wanted to paint him.

SM: Preferred Jungle Animal?

IS:There’s a new question. Is this one of those “the animal you pick indicates something about your personality” things? Yoikes! I like felines and simians – big cats and apes/chimps. (‘Cause, you know, I like to chase mice and eat bananas.)

SM: Last song you danced to?

IS: Gang of Four “I Found That Essence Rare” (here in my studio, go ahead and picture that ), and the theme song to the old “Batman” TV show with my kid while we jumped up and down on his bed. Atomic turbines to speed!

SM: Why paint characters from television shows?

IS: Well a lot of “classical” painting is working with a cast of characters that were readily known to the viewers of their time. By using visual cues (costumes, props) or titles you would indicate that this is so-and-so from the Bible or mythology. But we’re not as familiar with those stories now. What seemed to be the common language, the story base that my generation was really steeped in, was television. So I can tell the stories I want and by using characters that are familiar to you, you can hopefully “get” it in a way that you might not if I was painting Cephalus and Procris.

It’s also this sense of needing to “re-write” history. I felt a lot of injustice in these situations when I was a child – I thought it sucked that Jeannie was basically a slave, that Catwoman never got to be with Batman, that they murdered little Caesar’s parents in “Escape from the Planet of the Apes.” All that stuff just killed me. So I wanted to both make commentaries on how people see each other and treat each other, but also provide some happy endings (or happy beginnings).

SM: What were you doing five years ago around this time?

IS: Five years ago… hmmm…. Lemme think… probably pretty much exactly the same thing. I was going to say “but without all these toys everywhere” but there were toys then too, it’s just that they used to be my toys and now they’re my kid’s toys.

SM: Introvert or Extrovert?

IS: Depends on the situation. I’m generally somewhat gregarious and outgoing but there’s certainly times I’m just not feeling it. Perhaps because I spend so much time alone working in my studio, any chance to get out and chat with people is sort of special and I tend to want to take advantage of it and yuk it up a bit.

SM: C. S. Lewis, William Blake, and T.S. Eliot are to be featured in a commissioned painting done by you. What will you paint them doing?

IS: I mostly work with fictional people because their characters are drawn very broadly, much larger than life – they’re very easy to play with. And I do what is probably a silly amount of research when I’m working on something (I like to read biographies and books about the makings of the TV shows, behind the scenes stuff), so without getting gut-deep into these guys it’s sort of hard to say (unless the person commissioning the piece had specific ideas they wanted to talk about). I like all their work so maybe something very academic with togas like “The School of Athens” or something more dark and dramatic like “The Summer at Emmaus”. I’d have to know a lot more about them as people – what their quirks were, what they were known for (who was the nut at parties with the lampshade on his head? Who was the womanizer or man-izer? Who was the wacky recluse? Etc. etc.).

SM: Tell us, please, an anecdote.

IS: How about the one where the President of the United States steals the election and nobody calls him on it? Whoo! That’s a good one…

Did you mean a personal one? Have I mentioned I have a short-term memory problem? Hmmm. Well I seem to keep experiencing The Lemonade Effect – you know, life gives you lemons and you’re supposed to make lemonade. Or put another way, there are no obstacles, only opportunities. Whenever I’m asked to do a painting “on theme” for a show I really bitch and moan about it because I just want to follow my own whims and I guess I have issues about being “confined” or “directed” (which is largely responsible for my being an artist – I am not fit for employment). I needed to do a piece for a Halloween show once and was cooking along with my ideas when the curator said “Wait, it’s even better – it’s a doll themed show!’ and I deflated completely. Dolls? I don’t know from dolls, I don’t paint dolls, I don’t know what the hell to even think about dolls (oh the irony since I have a huuuuuge collection of female action figures, especially Catwoman and Bride of Frankenstein stuff). I was just pounding my head into the wall for months. But then a really simple idea came together (head pounding is highly underrated) and the piece (“Wednesday the Destroyer”) ended up being a favorite. And that’s been true of most of the work that’s come out that way – having a theme imposed on the work made me to come up with things I wouldn’t normally have done, to step outside the parameters of my usual thinking a little bit. Which is cool!

Interview w/ Li-Young Lee • Poet “The City In Which I Love You” “Rose” “Book of My Nights”

SM: If the world is a place of portals and doors, where do the important doors go?

LYL: I would guess that the “important doors” open onto self-knowledge, knowledge of who we are. But then, maybe all doors lead too self-knowledge, if our minds are ready to see that. For isn’t it true that how we encounter, how we react and relate to what’s on the other side of the door will determine the impotance of the event even more than what’s on the other side (a rose, a duck, a tiger, a peanut, a naked man with a leaf blower, a woman with her hair on fire riding a winged violin, an Arab, a Jew, a yellow man, a black man, a hillbilly, a brother in arms, an armed brother, a bottle of Glenfiddich, a pencil, a pile of money). And so the outcome of our encounter stands as testimony and evidence of who we are, our true identity.
All doors open onto ourselves. Where is there to go?

SM: : If you had to draw a picture of a room full of all tomorrow’s ghosts, what would you be sure to include in the portrait?

LYL: It seems to me that any tomorrow is only truly a tomorrow, and not just a repeat of today, if there are no ghosts in the room. A room swept of ghosts, even the ghost of our wishing for tomorrow, is the only possible tomorrow. Otherwise, it’s just today all over again, and not even that, since it’s just yesterday all over again, same thought-habits, same mistakes, same fixations, some prejudices, same preconceptions, same faulty assumptions about reality and ourselves and others, same ignorance. The only possible tomorrow, then, a true tomorrow, is a true today. Maybe humankind has not yet witnessed a true tomorrow or today and too much of our existence is recycled echo and shadow, ghost upon ghost and no real encounter. Maybe the words “tomorrow” and “today” have nothing to do with the 24-hour cylce, as though on one side of the twenty-fourth hour is still today, and one second beyond the twenty-fourth hour is tomorrow. Maybe those two words are names of states of mind we have yet to manifest on the planet. Maybe they name a state of mind not haunted by ghosts.

SM: When was the last time you took a good long look at the sky?

LYL: Last night. No, this morning. No, wait, this evening, a few moments ago, right before I sat down to write these answers. I’m very happy you reminded me. Your question makes me realize our blessed human state.

SM: What’s the first thing you thought when you woke up today?

LYL: Where’s Donna?

SM: When was the last circumstance in which luck was on your side?

LYL: Right now, this moment, I feel lucky. This exchange with you feels lucky, since it gives me a chance to ponder some pretty crazy, deep, wierd, wide-ranging issues I might not otherwise entertain.

SM: In your opinion, where are the world’s best secrets kept?

LYL: In God’s heart, where the big bang was born.

SM: Up to this point, how has the passage of time treated you?

LYL: I was about to say that Life has treated me with great leniency, kindness, and love, so far. But then I realized your question wasn’t how “Life” has treated me but how “the passage of time” has treated me. So I have to say “the passage of time” has treated me exactly the way it has treated everyone. I done got old. Can’t do the things I used to do. Cuz I’m a old man. Can’t drink the way I used to. Can’t love the way I used to. Done got old.

SM: What’s your first reaction to the sight of a man who looks nearly identical to you?

LYL: Spooked interest.

SM: What was the last circumstance in which you found yourself that you could not comprehend entirely?

LYL: Working at a poem earlier this afternoon. I couldn’t tell why or what or how I was doing. I couldn’t tell what a poem is, what is its value, what am I trying to say, am I trying to say anyhting, is something else wanting to speak through me, am I listening to the right words, what does a line-ending punctuate that commas and periods don’t, what is poetic consciousness and how is it different from mundane consciousness, what does the practice of poetry have to do with human evolution?

SM: Please describe your smile to someone who’s never seen it.

LYL: Crooked-toothed, embarrassed, drool dripping down my shirt.

Li-Young Lee
Li-Young’s Listing on Amazon

Interview w/ Ellen Forney • Cartoonist/Illustrator

SM: If you were to draw a locomotive, what would you be sure to include in the portrait?

EF: I wouldn’t attempt a locomotive without checking Google Images first. I have no idea how to draw locomotives.

SM: What is something you would like people to know about you?

EF: I like dumb jokes. Short dumb jokes, like knock-knocks and riddles. Here’s one a friend of mine told me recently: what did the 0 say to the 8?
“Nice belt.” (Haw!) Best if you can tell a lot of them all in a row.

SM: What’s the first thing you normally do when attending a party thrown by a stranger?

EF: Figure out where to put my coat. Sometimes that means ditching it somewhere, like behind a plant.

SM: What was your last good deed?

EF: I picked up the check for lunch when my friend was in the bathroom. Given, it was just for a couple of burritos, but still.

SM: Please create, describe and give a name befitting a magical creature for you to ride around on.

EF: I prefer my car. Very fond of my car. Okay, so it’s a magical ’68 Cougar that plays Led Zeppelin really loud.

SM: Please regale us with an anecdote.

EF: This isn’t exactly an anecdote but it’s something I noted recently: When I moved to Seattle in 1989, I saw my first “Honey Bucket.” Not that I hadn’t seen my share of porta-potties before (including the “Porta-Janes” at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival) but the name “Honey Bucket” struck me as both unbelievably gross and strangely rude. Puts to mind a nice, sweet thing like honey, and then transforms that vision to a nasty, smelly, sludgy mix of excrement. In a bucket.

SM: If animals doubled as canvas for art, what animal would you like to paint on?

EF: Oh, a human. I’ve actually toyed with the idea of becoming a tattoo artist, but that’s all I need, another low-paying, very competitive art job. A few Halloweens ago, I used markers to draw “sleeves” on a guy who was dressing as Tommy Lee, and that was fun. Skin is a great surface to draw on.

SM: What could you tell the devil that he doesn’t know already?

EF: Probably nothing.

SM: When was the last time you were in a moving vehicle for an extended period of time?

EF: The plane ride from New York back to Seattle. And you know, the whole ordeal takes so much longer now what with all the security and everything.

SM: Please compose a brief poem or haiku on the subject of your choosing.

Thank you!

Interview w/ Glen E. Friedman • Photographer, “The Idealist” “Fuck You Heroes”

SM: Please describe the image you would choose If you wore a photograph as a face for a week.

GEF: I could never do anything remotely like that. But I guess it would be someone who was recognizable and politically inspiring to me, to hope to inspire others.

SM: When was the last time you felt like you were in the right place at the right time?

GEF: I feel as though I’m usually in the correct place at the correct time.

SM: When was the last time you doubted the limits of coincidence?

GEF: I haven’t.

SM: Please describe a good deed that someone has done for you.

GEF: Many people have prepared food for me or educated me in one way or another. These are the greatest deeds anyone has done for me.

SM: Please add an anecdote to our growing collection.

GEF: There is no way for me to pick just one, I’m full of them, next time anyone reading this sees me they should just ask me for one, a bit more specific to a subject or period of time.

SM: When was the last time you found yourself fascinated by something you found on the street?

GEF: I am fascinated in one way or another by things I see on the street almost everyday.

SM: What do people seem to want from you most of the time, and what would you rather them have?

GEF: Most people seem to want obedience, while i rather them have my ideals.

SM: If it was really true that photographs steal a part of your soul, and in order to enter the afterlife properly, you had to get back all the photographs ever taken of you, what would you ask for as payment from all the people who came looking to get back the pictures you’d taken of them?

GEF: I would never ask for actual payment from a subject in such an instance, Only continued permission to use copies of the same pictures of them respectfully to share their spirit and inspiration after they are gone.

SM: What was your last run-in with a lunatic?

GEF: I have run-ins with lunatics all the time, but on an airplane, with an insanely fascist stewardess, was the last really memorable one. I spoke with Craig Stecyk on the phone a few minutes ago, that can certainly qualify as the “last run-in”

SM: Please describe an impressionable moment from childhood.

GEF: Hiding from the police.

Burning Flags Press

Interview w/ Thavius Beck (aka Adlib) • Writer/Producer/Musician “Decomposition”

SM: If whoever is guarding the passage from this life to whatever waits afterward asks you who you are, what will you tell them?

TB: I’d tell them that I am someone who has done my best to make a positive contribution on this plane of reality.

SM: When was the last time you made an unexpected connection?

TB: They don’t happen very often, but probably when I was in NY. I met this guy named Jon and it was like we were old friends as soon as we started talking. My connection with Saul Williams was similar. What he was looking for in a producer/musician was something that I was able to pull off, and that led to me doing a track for him and going on tour together. Maybe those connections happen more than I realize…

SM: What’s to be done with all the frauds and flatterers of the world?

TB: We need them so that we have examples of what not to do. Flatterers are fine, but they can skew your perception of whats real, and have you thinking you’re amazing when you really need more work. And frauds will help those of us with real talent to differentiate ourselves from the B.S.

SM: When was the last time fortune smiled on you?

TB: Fortune has been smiling on quite a bit lately. Doing this piece is a bit of good fortune.

SM: Please add an anecdote to our growing collection.

TB: If your wings are made of wax, don’t use q-tips.

SM: When you go for a walk, do you look at your feet, or do you look around?

TB: I like to be aware of my surroundings. I see my feet everyday, why stare at them en route?

SM: If we communicated with visual images instead of words, how would you say your name?

TB: It would be a picture of a statuesque Greek god with a massive beard playing air guitar.

SM: When was the last time you took a good long look at the sky?

TB: A couple weeks ago. In the Midwest late at night, you can see so many stars. It’s quite amazing.

SM: When was the last time you got lost?

TB: I get lost about once a week, sometimes more severely than others. On tour it happens several times a day.

SM: Please describe an impressionable moment from childhood.

TB: My 5th Christmas was when I was first introduced to playing instruments. My mom bought me a keyboard and from that point on, I knew that making music was all that I wanted to do. 20 years later, I feel the same way (but my keyboard is bigger).

Interview w/ Michael Colton • Co-Creator of the “Modern Humorist” website.

SM: Please design a proper flag to sail over a captured fort, be it made of stone or couch cushions.

MC: I believe this is the answer you’re looking for.

SM: When was the last time you consumed something to excess?

MC: That’s easy. Thanksgiving dinner. When I went on a huge cocaine binge.

SM: Please recommend a good opening line for a book short stories regarding depression era Georgia.

MC: “You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning. But here you are…”

SM: What was the last big misunderstanding for which you were responsible?

MC: Five years ago, an article I wrote calling Tinky-Winky a “gay Teletubby” was the article that set off Jerry Falwell’s crusade. True story.

SM: Please enliven our afternoon/morning/evening with an anecdote.

MC: When I was in elementary school I stole my friend Mark’s issue of Justice League of America #200. Mark, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry. You can have it back now.

SM: What do you turn to to remedy insomnia?

MC: Ironically, the movie “Insomnia.” (Both the Stellan Skarsgard and Al Pacino versions.)

SM: If it was really true that photographs steal a part of your soul, and in order to enter the afterlife properly, you had to get back all the photographs ever taken of you, what would you do to remedy the situation?

MC: I would start by calling up Honcho magazine ( and, somewhat embarrassed, ask to buy back the rights to the locker room spread (July ’96).

SM: If you woke up one morning to find the citizens in the city where you live had vanished, what album would you like to hear that day?

MC: “Holy Shit Everybody’s Gone What the Fuck Am I Going to Do” by The Velvet Underground.

SM: If you were heard to exclaim, “There it is!”, what would you most likely be pointing at?

MC: Sasquatch.

SM: Please compose a brief poem or haiku on the subject of your choosing.

Furu ike ya
Kawazu tobikomu
mizy no oto.

(To me, haikus are most expressive in their native Japanese.

Interview w/ John Aboud • Co-Creator of the “Modern Humorist” website

SM: Please design a proper flag to sail over a captured fort, be it made of stone or couch cushions.

John’s Flag.

SM: When was the last time you consumed something to excess?

JA: Yesterday, I listened to “Smile,” and I fucking gorged myself like a pig on Brian Wilson’s genius.

SM: Please recommend a good opening line for a book short stories regarding depression era Georgia.

JA: “I am born, y’all.”

SM: What was the last big misunderstanding for which you were responsible?

JA: The confusion of obscurity with artistic merit at this year’s National Book Awards. My bad.

SM: Please enliven our afternoon/morning/evening with an anecdote.

JA: Afternoon to morning to evening? That would have to be a pretty epic anecdote to last so long. Oh, well, here goes.
So Eris, the goddess of discord, has this golden apple, and Juno, Aphrodite and Athena all want it…

SM: What do you turn to to remedy insomnia?

JA: George Eliot’s “Silas Marner.” And melatonin.

SM: If it was really true that photographs steal a part of your soul, and in order to enter the afterlife properly, you had to get back all the photographs ever taken of you, what would you do to remedy the situation?

JA: Lower my expectations of proper afterlife entry. I could never get all the pictures back, as I am one of the most beautiful and photographed men in the whole house.

SM: If you woke up one morning to find the citizens in the city where you live had vanished, what album would you like to hear that day?

JA: Rush’s “2112.” Finally, I could focus on the musicianship and not the Ayn Rand-influenced themes of self-reliance and anti-conformity as those topics would be moot.

SM: If you were heard to exclaim, “There it is!”, what would you most likely be pointing at?

JA: “information technology,” but I’d be exclaiming in all caps.

SM: Please compose a brief poem or haiku on the subject of your choosing.

Scene Missing Dot Com,
What a fine web site you are.
Sucking up is in.