Archive for: January, 2005

Interview with Saul Williams • Poet

SM: Given that music is a collection of patterns, and man is a collection of patterns, what separates man from music?

SW: Business.

SM: Please recommend a phrase to speak aloud moments before shuffling off the mortal coil.

son of the sun
friend of the wind
life of the womb
reborn once again

SM: What is something you know to be true?

SW: God is a DJ.

SM: What would we know if we didn’t know trouble?

SW: Ourselves, a little bit better.

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

SW: First time I went to Utah, I grabbed my bag out of baggage claim, stepped outside where a drunk man turned to me and said, “I feel more like I do, now, than I did when I first got here”. Later that week, when we won top prize at the Sundance film festival the first thought that came to my head was the drunk man’s declaration.

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

SW: I put whatever money I have into his cup.

SM: Please describe an impressionable moment from childhood.

SW: When, the 80’s group, the Thompson Twins told me I was an incredible breakdancer.

SM: If the street you live on could speak, what would the people who walk it know after hearing it?

SW: They’re lucky to be alive.

SM: How do you plan on celebrating your 100th birthday?

SW: It’s gonna be real dirty.

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

SW: The future’s mistress is history’s whore.

Interview with Greg Dulli • Musician

SM: If you could send a postcard to heaven with a guarantee of reply, what message would you send?

GD: If we are to achieve all that you wish us to, perhaps a return engagement and a refresher course is necessary to remind us of how we may live together peacefully and with a kindness that is sorely lacking. With the techno- logical advances of our elementary species and your general omnipotence, I think you would find it a strong investment in your experiment.
Hit me back-

ps- the sunsets in California have been fantastic.

SM: How do you feel most days, just walking down the street?

GD: Once I get the agoraphobia in check, I feel cool and confident.

SM: Barring the answer Winter, Summer, Spring or Fall, what season is passing in your life right now?

GD: The season of skeptical innocence and wide-eyed revelation.

SM: What do you think strangers hear when they hear your voice for the first time?

GD: The sound of a phonetic Cadillac purring, albeit with pitch and key issues.

SM: Please describe an impressionable moment from adolescence.

GD: Once, when I was around 10 years old, I was record shopping at a small department store in Hamilton, Ohio. There were about 5 people in the store, besides myself, among them an older black man. After a time, a man and his son walked in. within moments, the boy exclaimed; “look daddy, there’s a nigger!” there was a hush as the man grabbed his kid and got him out of the store. The black man closed his eyes softly and when he opened them, I saw a sadness I had never seen before.
Shortly thereafter, he too, left the store. I followed him outside and approached him to tell him I was sorry and that we weren’t all like that.
He smiled at me and said nothing, but put his hand on my cheek and looked past me, then at me again and walked away. When I think back to this time, I hope the man and the son were affected the same way the rest of us were, but I doubt it.

SM: When was the last time you were drawn to an unusual building?

GD: I was in Barcelona this past December, and I explored temple expiatori de la sagrada familia for the second time. For those who don’t know, it is the ongoing construction of the house of the divine and it is the finest example of the spirit and power of the species that I have ever seen.
its creator, Antoni Gaudi, said it best; “The Temple grows slowly, but this has always been the case with everything destined to have a long life. Hundred-year-old oak trees take many years to grow tall; on the other hand, reeds grow quickly, but in autumn the wind knocks them down and there is no more to be said”

SM: What have you been waiting for all this time?

GD: My royalty checks.

SM: What feature do you like best about your hands?

GD: That they work.

SM: When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?

GD: Every time I walk up the 66 steps to my house.

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

GD: Each time I walk up the steps to my house
Sixty-six breaths disappear from my mouth
If I stopped smoking, then where would I be?
Alone in the dark or my grave, longingly-

Interview with Val Kappa • Comedian

SM: If you were to illustrate a river with a secret in it, what would you be sure to include in the drawing?

VK: I would draw a river with an empty canoe floating on it. To the side of the river would stand an octopus gazing at the canoe through a large magnifying glass that he would be holding in one of his tentacles which for some reason appears to have a hand at the end of it.
I’m pretty sure that’s what I’d include.

SM: If you woke up tomorrow and found that you had been transformed into a tree, who would you prefer to sit in your shade?

VK: I would prefer Prince to sit in the shade. I of course realize that it would be hard to get Prince. But I’m sure he would return my phone call when I left a message on his voicemail and explained to him how I had just turned into a tree.
He would probably call me right back and be like, “I’m so there. And if it rains I’ll be sure to sing Purple Rain.”

SM: Please recommend a good line to begin a detective novel with.

VK: Trixie adjusted his bra strap and put on a fresh coat of lip gloss, because that’s what he always did before investigating a crime scene.

SM: When was the last time you were drawn to an unfamiliar building?

VK: Last week. I wasn’t drawn in though. I just kind of walked into the wrong building, and it took me awhile to figure out that I was in the wrong building.

SM: Please describe an impressionable moment from adolescence.

VK: In junior high I got contact lenses. And I was psyched to show up at school wearing them because the glasses I used to wear at that time were huuuuuge. So this was major stuff.
Someone in my class who was a lot more talkative than me kept saying,
“Wow Val you sure talk a lot now that you wear contacts.”
Which isn’t a bad thing to say to someone but they kept saying it over and over. So it kind of turned into something that I thought was bad. And also something that just made me really angry.
After awhile of them saying that to me over and over I found myself giving them a really hard bitch slap across the face.
It was an intense moment, and an intense bitch slap.
They had to back away from me to kind of recover from it.
Everyone in my class was really surprised because I had barely talked all year. I had always sat silently in the back. Then all of a sudden one day I showed up without my glasses and bitch slapped someone.
My reaction to the bitch slap incident was to start crying and go to the school nurse and pretend I was sick and get dismissed from school.
In conclusion:
I don’t wear contact lenses anymore.
That’s a story I like to call: The Day the Quiet Girl Made Some Noise

SM: If we scheduled you to lecture to a packed auditorium of everyone you will ever meet in your life, what topic would you choose to lecture on?

VK: I would reenact my 7th grade gymnastics routine from gym class. Just like in 7th grade I would enter the auditorium to Paula Abdul’s song, “Opposites Attract”, then proceed to do a series of forward and backward somersaults accompanied by a lot of arm waving.
I’m not sure what I’d lecture about after doing that though.
I’m just pretty sure that that’s how I’d kick off the lecture.
But don’t hold me on it!

SM: What are you willing to make other people wait for?

VK: Astronaut Ice Cream

SM: What do you think strangers see when they meet you for the first time?

VK: A nerd who looks lost and needs directions.

SM: What do you consider to be the funniest thing you know?

VK: Repeatedly writing the word “Cock” in someone’s opened notebook when they are turned away from it, and then acting like you don’t know who wrote it when they angrily say, “Who keeps writing ‘Cock’ on my notebook?!”.

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

VK: Here’s an excerpt of something I wrote in high school:
Finesse, Finesse
Oh no, oh no
Pert Plus, Pert Plus
Just wash and go

Interview with Beau Sia * Poet

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

BS: I think that you should ask an ex-girlfriend or someone I’ve dated this question. Any answer I give would probably make me sound like a douche bag, unless it was some self-deprecating lie. I think Heather O’Neill would word it perfectly, albeit somewhat biased. Let me know if you find her.

SM: When was the last time you looked over your shoulder at something important?

BS: I don’t even know what the fuck you’re talking about. I get visions of Moses looking back at the red sea when I read this question. like, “fuckin’ a. look what god n I did… together. but mostly me.” I think a moment I can remember even looking over my shoulder was when I got dropped off at the airport and looked to see the girl, you know, in her car n shit.

SM: what’s the first thing you want to know about a stranger?

BS: Will this person end up killing me or telling the world I have a small dick?

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

BS: All I know is that scene in rush hour 2, when Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker see that room full of girls behind glass that you can pick and choose from- based on reality.

SM: If we could dedicate colors to people or events or things the way we dedicate songs, what color would you dedicate to who or what?

BS: I would give Jason Muhlberger turquoise, Sunday grey, and the films of Woody Allen, indigo.

SM: If a poem is a house, who answers your doors?

BS: Am I supposed to reply with a poem or a poet here? I guess my doors are answered by someone from a third world country, happy to be making first world dollars, even though I’m paying him/her less than minimum wage. Or some unknown crapass whose invocation of their name would make me seem cool to literary jackasses. NOT Charles Bukowski.

SM: What’s the closest thing you know of to casting a spell?

BS: When a girl looks into your eyes while biting her lip. e-fucking-gad.

SM: When was the last time you had to take an unexpected walk?

BS: I don’t know. That one time.

SM: What do you seek to remedy melancholy?

BS: A joint plus Zoolander. Well, there goes my career in public office.

SM: Please describe an impressionable moment from your childhood.

BS: The time a group of older kids tried to convince me that a cut in half gallon of milk on the ground filled with pisswas really mountain dew. Thank god I didn’t drink that shit, and thank god at five years old, I realized that your so-called friends will fuck you over for their instant gratification.
Zip it up and zip it out.

Interview with Hank Stuever * Washington Post Reporter & Author of “Off Ramp”

SM: When was the last time you found yourself talking your way into trouble?

HS: At the District of Columbia’s DMV. I needed to change the address on my license and car tags and failed to bring in the exact three kinds of documented proof that I live where I say I live. (Like anyone would fake living in DC. Even terrorists.) I argued with them in my white-collar capital-M Man voice, which was exactly the wrong thing to do. They took particular delight in making the entire experience that much harder for me. I neglected my standard Zen approach to being a customer in line: Get in touch with the part of you that doesn’t care if you get what you came for.
Let that be your aura, let them sense the following: “I care less than you, the person behind the counter.” This approach works wonders, whether at CVS Pharmacy, the airport ticket counter and most delis.

SM: How do you make your way around an unpleasant party?

HS: With a notebook and a pen, and on deadline.

SM: When was the last time you found yourself high above the surface of the earth?

HS: US Airways, DC to Boston. More interesting, I think, is that in dreams I find myself soaring very low to the ground. Some people dream that they are flying, whereas I dream that I’m belly-down on a kind of large,
modified skateboard, doing 75 mph on the freeway, my chin about six inches from the ground. I weave in and out of, and underneath, traffic. I occasionally push my hands on the asphalt for momentum. It’s better than flying.

SM: When was the last time you performed a feat requiring copious amounts of nerve and courage?

HS: Live television comes to mind, but really that just requires a free morning and a ever-so-slightly-fake, peppy attitude.

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

HS: I was just on “The View” a few days ago, the morning TV show with four women all talking at once. Candace Bergen and Missy Elliott were the other guests that day, and we all waited off stage in this darkened living room/green room type place. I wore a dark gray suit and a baby blue crew neck sweater. I think the whole thing was worth it just to see the following — and immortal to me — words scroll across the TelePrompTer:

I kept repeating those words in my head all day.

SM: If we were to hire you to lecture on a topic of your choosing tomorrow to a crowded city street full of strangers, on what would you be speaking?

HS: Conspicuous piety. (Against.) It would be a rant on the times we live in, with the yellow cancer bracelets and patriotic ribbon magnets on SUVs and drywallers getting weepy on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” when discussing their own selfless acts of charity ad nauseum. My speech would be your basic contrarian claptrap. Then I would try to feed the people with loaves and fishes, only it would be something else … black-bean burritos I guess.

SM: What’s your preferred method of climbing trees? (If you have never climbed a tree, how do you suppose you would go about it?)

HS: Jump up and grab on to the lowest out-of-reach limb and lift legs up over limb and hoist self up, with ass-crack showing at this point. (Grace is not the point.) Mom always refused to boost me up into trees when I was a boy, insisting that you have to get up in the tree without any help, otherwise you’ll never get down.

SM: When was the last time you acted on an unusual urge?

HS: For months now I’ve been having this urge to be in a spectacular (though non-injurious) car wreck, so I’ve been looking into entering my car, a ’95 Ford Thunderbird with 107,000 miles on it, in a demolition derby in Maryland. (And the key part is I want to drive it myself in the derby.) I’m looking for a Karate Kid-type master demolition derby expert to take me under his tutelage and help me prep and reinforce and paint my car for competition.

SM: Please describe your voice to those of us who haven’t heard it.

HS: I have what some social linguists now call GA, for “gay accent,” which is basically that sort of wry, quick, and frequently effeminate lilt that most people hear in a man and think, “He’s gay.” Carson Kressley from “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” has very high GA for example; Rock Hudson, at least in public, had low GA. Most gay men on television have slight traces of GA, zippily narrating their tasks of making over people’s homes, wardrobes, bodies. What’s interesting about GA is that linguists are discovering it in all cultures and languages. Hindu GA sounds like Japanese GA sounds like Oklahoma GA. No one has yet fully explained its origins or evolutionary significance.

SM: T.S. Eliot, C.S. Lewis and William Blake disappear, with a blinding flash, from the makeshift bathtub/time machine you spent the morning building together. How do you go about recovering these vanished authors?

HS: Wait, what just happened? Are they now erased from history’s memory, like they never existed? Or are they just “gone missing” and I’m going to be in serious trouble? If they’re now in a state of never having existed, I might look around, make sure the world is still pretty much as it was (minus the Chronicles of Narnia, etc.) and just walk away and whistle nonchalantly, because who’s going to know? They’ll find something else with which to torture high school English classes. Working from memory only (since there are no texts existing anymore), I suppose it’s now up to me to suggest “Cats” to Andrew Lloyd Webber. I’m not going to rush that, though.

Interview with Andrew Vachss * Author & Attorney

SM: If you were to illustrate a river with a secret in it, what would you be sure to include in the drawing?

AV: A current.

SM: If you woke up tomorrow and found that you had been transformed into a tree, who would you prefer to sit in your shade?

AV: Depends on what kind of tree.

SM: Please recommend a good line to begin a detective novel with.

AV: You’re kidding me, right?

SM: When was the last time you were drawn to an unfamiliar building?

AV: Yesterday.

SM: Please describe an impressionable moment from adolescence.

AV: No.

SM: If you we scheduled you to lecture to a packed auditorium of everyone you will ever meet in your life, what topic would you choose to lecture on?

AV: I only have one song to sing; it’s not audience-dependent.

SM: What are you willing to make other people wait for?

AV: I don’t do generics. “Other people” could mean anyone from my brothers and sisters to mortal enemies.

SM: What do you think strangers see when they meet you for the first time?

AV: Depends on their individual filters, refractors, and biases. And what they want from me.

SM: What do you consider to be the funniest thing you know?

AV: How incredibly droll, witty, amusing, and clever some people think they are.

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


Children know the truth
Love is not an emotion
Love is behavior

Interview with Daniel Robert Epstein • Interviewer

SM: If you were transformed into a tree tomorrow, where would you need to place your roots to survive?

DRE: I’ve lived in a lot of different cities in my life and visited three times as many but I’m a New Yorker. I’ve tried very hard to live in places like Santa Fe, Los Angeles and I grew up in Long Island but I always ALWAYS end up coming back to New York City. So if I needed to plant roots I would stretch and strain and crash my roots through the concrete lawn all the way down deep below Manhattan Island and that’s where I would stay.

SM: If you were heard to exclaim, “Don’t worry, we’re on an adventure.”, who would you likely be with and what would you likely be doing?

DRE: Last adventure I had was with fiancé Andrea and we did the stupidly insane trip of Venice, Italy, Prague then Amsterdam all in 10 days! It was wonderfully surprising and we learned a lot about one another and ourselves.
Before that my last adventure was all by myself on a trip to London, Paris then Edinburgh. It was fantastic. But if someone said that to me it would probably be me saying that to myself in my mind in a strange city and I would high on the pot.

SM: People once believed that it was a bad idea to wake someone suddenly, because their dreaming selves wouldn’t have time to get back to their bodies. If we were to wake you suddenly tomorrow morning, where would your dreaming self find itself in a hurry to get away from?

DRE: It’s funny because I don’t have dreams, I only have nightmares. I just had one the other night where I went to get a book off the top shelf of a tall bookcase and book after book just kept tumbling down on top of me.
My dream self very much would want to be in empty warm dry place free of any objects or people just like me in real life.

SM: What is an activity that you worry you will never get the hang of?

DRE: I’m terrible at cleaning my living space and there is a good chance I will never be any good at it. I don’t mean like dirt or insects. I mean, my books, DVDs and magazines.

SM: Please add an anecdote to our growing collection.

DRE: “What I don’t like is when mutant dogs with thumbs burn me with cigarettes.”

SM: What’s your first reaction to:
1.a stranger who looks like you?
2.a stranger who stares at you?

DRE: 1.Nothing. I barely even recognize myself when i look in the mirror. Usually people tell me I look like a friend of theirs. In fact I’m always bumping into this brazillian journalist who wants to show me a picture of some TV personality in Brazil. He was supposed to email me the pic but he never did.
2.I look back until they look away. I dislike it very much when people stare at me. It makes me very self conscious and then the anger comes in.

SM: Where do you go when you need to distance yourself from your daily routine?

DRE: It doesn’t get much better than a nap on the most comfortable of comfortable things, my bed.

SM: What do you think people see when they look at you for the first time?

DRE: A giant person. I’m a very big person with big hands. My look also really changed once I started wearing my glasses on a regular basis. I think people really started to take QUICK notice of my intellectual side.

SM: What album would you like to hear on the most important day of your life?

DRE: Music was never a huge part of my life but if you put on the first Mr.Bungle album and I’ll be air guitaring like nobody’s business.
Yeah please play the Mr. Bungle album on the most important day of my life.

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

Monkeys throwing me
Friends unless they’re bad
No good fight monkeys

Read some of Daniel’s interviews here

Interview with Martin Luther • Musician

SM: When was the last time you found yourself drawn to a church or house of worship?

ML: I attend worship service and sunday school at the church I was raised in when I’m in San Francisco from time to time. I fellowship more often outside the church with spirit filled people regularly. I was recently invited to visit a church in Harlem ,NY that is pastored by a cat I went to college with. I will check his space out soon.

SM: What is a topic you are unwilling to change your mind about?

ML: The fact that God is Real.

SM: If I were to tell you we were sending over a box of your favorite things, what would you be expecting in the mail tomorrow?

ML: Some cool stickers, some cool clothes, a model car, a tool kit, some comic books, guitar strings and an aloe vera plant…maybe some crystals and oh, video tapes of all the classic Rebel Soul Men…ie Jimi Hen, G. Clinton, Prince and Sly.

SM: What do you suppose strangers are hearing when they hear your voice for the first time?

ML: The Gospel. God making noise through the voice of one of his children.

SM: Please describe an impressionable moment from childhood.

ML: Watching a friend’s uncle waking up on the sidewalk from an all night drug induced evening the night before…very uncool.

SM: If your words occasionally set people on fire, what phrase would you be
careful not to say?

ML: I wouldn’t be careful at all. Burn em’.

SM: What is an activity you do often that you’re unwilling to stop doing anytime soon?

ML: Performing my music.

SM: What is your first reaction to a really hard rain?

ML: Damn, I hope the window’s closed!

SM: Please share with us something you know that you could comfortably call “wisdom”.

ML: I’m too tired to think right now…there is much to say to answer this but i’ll say this…what ever you are into or after in life, taking it one day at a time is a very smart approach. Never feel anger about paying dues cuz when you are burning rubber, you have to leave a lil’ scratch somewhere.

SM: What was the first thing you thought when you woke up this morning?

ML: Damn it’s 12:30pm….just two more hours!

Interview with Wendy Ip • Musician

SM: When was the last time you felt like a stranger in a usually familiar city?

WI: Actually, the last time I visited my best friend in Canada – Calgary, Alberta, to be exact. I’ve lived in New York for so long that I was actually SUSPICIOUS of everyone’s friendliness, until I realized that that’s how I used to be – and still am to some extent, hehe. I am, after all, from Friendly Manitoba (that’s what it says on the license plates).

SM: When was the last time you paid attention to someone saying your name?

WI: I ALWAYS pay attention to people saying my name because 99% of people mispronounce it!! You’d think that it doesn’t get any simpler than a two letter last name, but think again! People always want to complicate the vowel sound or they think it’s initials of some sort and spell it out.
They say “Wendy I-p”, as in “eye-pee”. That always gets my goat! It’s come to the point where if people actually pronounce my name correctly, I think they must be a genius. If you scored higher than 1500 on the SATs, you probably know how to say my name.

SM: What is your first reaction to the sight of a forgotten newspaper in a restaurant?

WI: That it’s dirty and was used to wipe up some sort of bodily fluid, so I definitely shouldn’t touch it.

SM:Please recommend a remedy for boredom on long car-trips.

WI: Personally, I must play my personal MIX CDs of songs I fantasize about performing. I’ve never experienced boredom on long car-trips – I’m either engaged in conversation with my travel mates or fast asleep…or half asleep. Being half-asleep while I’m driving is especially exciting for everyone.

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

WI: Recently, I brought three friends with me backstage at a Pixies’ concert at the Hammerstein Ballroom (in New York). The “after-show” gathering took place in an unexpectedly awkward environment – a small room with supermarket-like bright lights, no music and an overpriced cash bar with “bartenders” just standing there staring blankly straight ahead (by the way, they charged Frank Black for his drink). Every interaction within that awkward atmosphere seemed equally as awkard and at a certain point, one of my friends said to me “I can’t remember the last time I was in a situation this awkward,” to which I responded “That’s exactly what I was thinking – this is so awkward.” We then noticed that a camera had been filming us and there was a microphone looming above our heads. So, the next time you see me might be in a Pixies documentary saying “Boy, this sure is awkward.”

SM: When was the last time someone could have accurately referred to you as “a traveller”?

WI: Someone COULD have referred to me as a “traveller” when I was in England last year. No one did, though. Is this a way of finding out when I was last out of town? I don’t even know anyone that would use that term…I would love for someone to refer to me as a TIME traveller…see answer to question further down.

SM: Please recommend a way for your friends to jog your memory should you come down with amnesia.

WI: They should play my own songs to me. Then, if I didn’t remember them, at least it would be fun to see if I thought they were as great as I do now knowing that I wrote them.

SM: If you found a door behind a bookshelf in your home, where do you suppose it would go?

WI: HELLO! I believe this an opportunity to talk about my ultimate fantasy, TIME TRAVEL!!! The door would lead to another year – a different one each time I went. And while I was away on that other side, time on the normal side would be frozen, just like in the Narnia chronicles. Oh how I loved that series! So back to the different years…it could be the past or the future…and I would be myself as I am now no matter what, so I would have the potential to run into myself at different ages. Ooh – I could confront my parents and change history! Hmmm…would I be allowed to change the course of history?…

SM: When was the last time you had to use your wits to get yourself out of an unpleasant situation?

WI: Well, I wish I had an interesting anecdote for you about how I used police negotiation skills to talk a robber out of mugging me, but unfortunately, all I have is the cold, hard reality of having just extricated myself from a highly complex relationship. I’m not sure if it was really about using wits as much as it was a lot of other things too…wow I need to stop as this question is making me get really serious…

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

WI: Still on a serious note, I present to you a limerick, my favorite form of poetry. This may very well be the only serious one you’ve ever read:

The only thing you can control
Are the actions that are your own
If others don’t see
Why they should agree
There may be something they don’t know

Interview with Barb Lien-Cooper • Comic Artist, Creator of “Gun Street Girl”

SM: When was the last time you went to a party that you thought about for days

BLC: I love parties, but only certain kinds. I love the type of party where you encounter someone and you get into a great, deep, lengthy conversation with him or her. But, that sort of party is very rare, sadly. Many parties are a bunch of people unable to do much but look bored.

The best party my husband and I attended in recent memory was a gathering at the Hyatt bar at the San Diego Comic Book Convention a few years back. We got into this revelatory conversation with the writer Grant Morrison. He’s a very intelligent and compassionate man, into all sorts of philosophical things, as well as pop culture and magic. When he seriously talks to you, you listen. We talked for hours. And when we stopped talking at the bar, we had a great confab with these really smart guys who have a comic-book-related radio show. It was really a life, the universe, and everything sort of conversation. The three best parts of the evening (for me, at least) were when Grant actually liked a comic book story I’d created (I told him about it; he didn’t read it) and laughed at how outrageous it was. And, THEN, he told a comic book publisher that writers like me were the wave of the future. And THEN, if that wasn’t enough, he told me it was my DUTY to the medium I love so much to get published, because he thought I had talent! That’s like God talking to Moses on the mountain or something! I still think of that party and am so grateful that I was there. A kind of after-story that still makes my heart swell with pride: On his website, Grant Morrison actually wrote about that encounter and called me “faster than light’s sister”! Wow.
There are two writers in comics that have always had my deepest respect. One is Grant Morrison. The other is Mark Millar, who is also a very intelligent and compassionate person (at least he’s been to me!). Grant is a friendly acquaintance of mine and Mark is an old buddy of mine. I’m incredibly grateful that that two men I so admire have been so kind to me and so supportive of my comic book writing!

SM: How different would relationships be without a phone and bed to have them in?

BLC: Well, I wouldn’t have a husband if not for the phone. We sort of had a very long-distance relationship, at first, so the phone was our life line.
We sort of fell in love over the phone, even before we saw each other. So, thank you Alexander Graham Bell for inventing the phone or else I’d be alone!
If we didn’t have beds, we’d have relations on futons. I like futons, but there’s nothing like snuggling in a four-poster bed like the old one my husband and I now have. It’s like something out of a Hammer Horror film, the type of thing that nubile young ladies lay on, awaiting Dracula’s love bites. Sadly, it also has a tendency to break. We’ve had to re-build it at least once. It’s a little anxiety provoking to do anything too exciting in that bed, therefore. Hmmn, maybe futons aren’t as bad for relationships as I initially thought…

SM: What is the closest thing to dreaming awake that you know of?

BLC: When I write or am deep in thought or really into a movie or when I’m listening to music. Anything that totally gets me involved with it is like a waking dream.

SM: Do you have an arch-nemesis?

BLC: Honestly, I can’t think of any. I am, however, a superhero, in a way.
Mark Millar, when he was writing Ultimate X-Men, told me that he sort of gave Jean Grey my short hair and glasses, as well as my fashion sense, and a little of my personality. It always makes me smile when I see Jean in the Ultimate X-Men book because it’s a bit like looking in a mirror. Mark’s just the nicest guy, as well as a creator I respect, so it’s a very sweet complement to me — and I don’t think I’ve ever thanked him for it. So, thanks, Mark!

SM: Please indulge us with an anecdote.

BLC: People think I’m very a very serious person, but I also have a fun side. My husband and I live in an apartment where we’re practically the only white folks there, which is great, as I love diversity. There are a ton of kids here, most of whom don’t speak English. But, I like kids, so I’m always smiling at them and waving at them, as my Spanish is very rusty. They light up when any attention is paid to them, as that’s the way kids are. These are really clever, genuine little people, and they just knock me out when I encounter them. However, one day, I went too far. My husband and I were walking back and forth to the laundry room, to do several loads of laundry.
A couple of neighborhood girls started running and giggling when they saw me, looking back and sort of motioning to me as if to say, “Chase us!” So, I did. They were delighted! Every time Park and I would bring more laundry or would check on how it was washing or drying, the kids wanted to play “chase me”. So, I did! I ended up exhausted. That whole afternoon, I was a little afraid to leave the house, as I knew the girls were out there, almost stalking me, waiting for more chase games. Actually, I spent a lot of the afternoon playing games with them, just because they were having so much fun. I think the neighborhood kids now think I’m just some older kid or something, as they now just want me to pay attention to them. They’ll talk to me about their toys and their Yu-Gi-Oh cards and what not, and I only understand a little of what I’m being told, but that’s okay because kindness is a universal language thing (sorry that sounds so trite, but it’s true).

SM: If you had to square off against the devil in a competition based on some area of the creative arts (i.e. a fiddle contest), what would it be?

BLC: Writing. But, as movies have shown us, there’s nothing more boring than watching people write. So, it would probably be the world’s most boring contest to watch.

SM: What made you laugh the hardest in the last three days?

BLC: Honestly, a Kids Next Door cartoon I saw. Usually, I’m more into anime than American cartoons, but for a kids’ show, Kids Next Door, at its best, is excellent entertainment. I also like Kim Possible, as it’s very clever. I don’t go crazy for kids’ cartoons, ‘coz I’m an adult, but I appreciate good storytelling, whether it’s for adults or for kids. I mean, the best book I encountered lately was Danny, Champion of the World, a kid’s book by Roald Dahl. Good writing doesn’t just have to be for adults.

SM: If, for every minute you spent in the ocean, you forgot an hour of your life, how hard would you try to get back to shore if you fell off a boat?

BLC: I love the ocean and I love swimming, but I’m not good at it (although I’m getting better). So, I wouldn’t be thinking, “Oh, I’m losing my memories”, I’d be thinking, “Damn! I’m drowning!!!” So, I’d hope that the boat’s close to shore and that Jaws isn’t in the water…

SM: If you were to pack everything up and leave, where would you likely be headed?

BLC: England. I’ve only been there once and I’d like to see it again. But, not in winter! I went there in winter and practically froze my butt off. So, I’d like to see England in summer. I’d like to see all the haunted inns, because I’m reading a book on the subject. My comic, Gun Street Girl, is all about the supernatural in Britain, so I have to do a lot of research into ghosts, as well as British culture. Fortunately, these are areas that I like learning about anyway.

SM: Please describe an impressionable moment from adolescence.

BLC: I was one of those spooky girls that didn’t have any friends because she was just so weird. I spent my whole adolescence listening to music, watching movies, and reading, as opposed to actually going out and doing stuff. So, any impressionable moments I remember really concern art forms I liked. Music gave me those really life changing moments, mostly. I can still remember the thrill of hearing the first Velvet Underground album or Elvis Costello’s My Aim is True or The Kinks’ single Waterloo Sunset or Big Star’s Sister Lovers — “the songs that saved your life,” to quote The Smiths. I don’t think I would have survived my teenage years without music that really spoke to me as an individual. That’s why I hate oldies stations that say “music to get through the work day with”. These old songs MEANT something once. They were never meant to be overplayed product to dope workers into submission. And they certainly weren’t designed to sell products. Hearing the Buzzcocks or the Kinks or Nick Drake or the Ramones or in a commercial seems against the spirit of why the songs were written in the first place.
I don’t know what teenagers have to save THEIR lives nowadays. Maybe video games or rap or manga/anime. But, even the alternative music lately, in a way, seems a bit soulless. Maybe if I were a teen now, I’d listen to rap. At least it’s about artists communicating to their audience what they really feel deep down. To me, good popular art, whether it’s comics or music or movies, has to be about communicating one’s true self with the audience. It has to be from the heart and the best you can do, as there are a lot of people out there who rightly take pop art forms very seriously because the works mean so much to them. Because comics mean a lot to me — and to the readers — I do my damnedest to tell good stories. They deserve the best I can do…because I know that pop art forms MATTER.

Interview with Anita Endrezze • Poet

SM: When was the last time you found yourself in a unexpectedly wonderful place?

AE: Last Summer, I hiked two miles which was difficult for me since I have MS. I could barely walk after we hiked. I was exhausted. It was really hot, too, but beautiful. It was in the Cascade mountains. We hiked to some ice caves.
Afterwards, I rested and then drove a short way to have a picnic…and here I was so astonished to see such a beautiful view! Snow-clad mountains and a long meadow stretching in front of us…and several blue jays to share our lunch. I didn’t expect the view since we’d been hiking in the forest.

SM: How do you like to kill time during long distance trips?

AE: I get car sick so I can’t read! So I just day dream, sleep, or talk. I wish I could read.

SM: If you were transformed into a tree tomorrow, what fruit would you bear?

AE: Small singing women. There is a story about such a tree in India, where the women sing from their places as fruit among the leaves.

SM: When was the last time your identity was called into question?

AE: Never. I have always known who I am.

SM: What is the question you’ve always wanted someone to ask of you?

AE: What is the name you call yourself?

SM: Please describe an impressionable moment from your teenage years.

AE: I have many but they are always of the same thing…moving. I went to a different school every year from 6th grade to 11th. And we weren’t in the military, just always looking for a better life. Moving represented sadness to me and adventure and challenge.

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

AE: Most people want me to give my time and energy. I do.I would also like to give them more of my peace and love for quiet.

SM: When was the last time you had a lot of people paying attention to you all at once?

AE: When I give a reading or talk about my art.

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

AE: That the stars were so bright in the cold dark sky.

SM: Please indulge us with an anecdote.

AE: When I was younger I visited a healing ground near the Spokane Indian reservation. There happened to be a Yaqui healing man. I am Yaqui. I was surprised but too shy to talk to him. On the way home I slept in the car, feeling like I was in a deep trance. I dreamed of an old woman in black, leading a white horse. She said my name is Solonia Nawani.
Years later I was reading a book by a Nigerian man. In it, he said the word for woman was “nawani”.
I think the name means “Woman who is alone or walks alone.”
I also like the name Sophia. It means wisdom. My own name “anita” means “little ann” which means “grace”. My middle name is “Louise” which means “fighting woman”. And my childhood nickname was “stormy” because I was so passionate and moody. So I have many names and all of them are me.

Interview with Christian Finnegan • Comedian

SM: When was the last time you found yourself stranded somewhere, and how did you get un-stranded?

CF: Being a stand up comic, I get stranded in hour-long conversations with social misfits and/or potential psychopaths at least once a month. The comedy community is populated with a disproportionately large number of people who creep out members of the opposite sex and routinely bring friendly conversations to an awkward, grinding halt. And for some reason, these people are drawn to me like drooling infants to a set of car keys. Maybe it’s because I’m not very good at inventing reasons to excuse myself from unwanted conversations. I think the excuse one I tried went something like, “Hey man, hold that thought. No, really-I’m totally interested in hearing why you want to have sex with Strawberry Shortcake. I just need to go…um…I think I just contracted bone cancer.”

Anyway, I’ve found that the best way of getting un-stranded in this situation is to passive-aggressively address it in an online interview and then hope that certain people read it.

SM: When was the last time you danced like you meant it?

CF: I’m not big on the whole dancing thing. Not by choice, really-it’s a matter of my chemical makeup. You see, I have a theory that every person in the world has his or her own internal “dance threshold”-a specific level of stimulus which, once met, compels you to begin shaking your booty. For some people, a well-liked pop song playing on the radio is enough to do the trick. Gay men and junior high girls, for instance, tend to have relatively low dance thresholds. I’m on the other end of that spectrum. My Dance Threshold is just shy of Stephen Hawking’s.

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

CF: Allow me to introduce my faithful steed, DJ Thunderhoof. He’s a centaur-you know, half man, half horse? He was given to me as a gift after I vanquished the evil wizard Mixmelm from the forests of Gorrhyllm (he was just “Thunderhoof” back then). Sadly, DJ Thunderhoof is not nearly so interested in his mythological duties, now that he’s found work as a turntablist in a ‘nü metal’ band.

SM: Given that a big hypothetical prom is happening next week, whom will you ask to accompany you, and why?

CF: Strawberry Shortcake. Duh.

SM: Please add an anecdote to our growing collection.

CF: I recently performed at Fresno State and, sitting across the aisle on the puddle-jumper from Los Angeles to Fresno, was legendary crooner and national treasure Tony Bennett. I have no idea why Tony Bennett would need to take a thirty-five seat, coach-only glorified prop plane with the rest of us common folk, but there he was. Even cooler, he was dressed in an expensive suit, with a ruby red pocket square and slightly-too-large-for-his-face tinted sunglasses. I like it when celebrities go the extra mile to be who they “are” in public, even if it means sacrificing a bit of comfort. You think Tony Bennett, you think classy suit and pocket square–to see him farting around in sweat pants and a Cookie Puss t-shirt would just seem…I don’t know, not right.

Seeing Tony Bennett look so “Tony Bennett” made me think maybe I should cultivate a “look”. Here are some ideas I’ve been batting around:

* Urban Pirate
* Breakdancing Satanist
* Faggy Spaceman
* Hooker with a Heart of Gold
* Native American Jello Wrestler
* Lobster Boy Chic
* Grunge Barrister
* Stroke Victim Nouveau
* “Brendan”, that neighborhood kid who tortures small animals

SM: What do you think would be a good opening line for a book of haikus?

CF: Well, being a book of haikus, the opening line would have to be just five syllables. I know that because I’m a very literate and sensitive person. I have what you might call an “old soul”. I don’t know, I just feel things more deeply than other people-always have. And to me, nothing expresses the tragic beauty of the human experience like a well-constructed haiku. Here’s one I’ve just now come up with:

Bird rests on flower
A morning whispers its song
Whoops, I just farted

SM: Please describe a location that you’ve only seen once but have spoken about many times.

CF: Last year, I spent one pleasant afternoon wandering around the world famous San Diego Zoo, home of renowned late night talk show guest Jack Hannah, if I’m not mistaken. The main thing I noticed about this climate-controlled, wheelchair accessible safari was that the “wild” animals in the are notably more civilized than the human beings paying to look at them. The various rhinos, gazelles and giant anteaters seem to have a decidedly laidback attitude about life–they’re not out to impress anyone and they certainly don’t feel the need to draw attention to themselves. The humans, on the other hand, tend to act like complete morons. From a sociological standpoint, I think watching an African warthog casually mill around in a pile of hay doesn’t provide nearly the intellectual appeal as watching a pudgy, fanny-packed housewife scream obscenities at her children from 75 yards away, while simultaneously trying to operate a camcorder and eat an ice cream cone. And the thousands of rampaging children are even worse. The run around unsupervised, throw shit at each other, violently bang on the glass to try and get attention–in short, acting like monkeys. But actually, now that I’ve been to the zoo and actually seen the animals do their thing, I can say that to compare children to monkeys is an egregious insult to monkeys. No, the monkeys were not jumping around like howling mongoloids, they pretty much just sat there, eating, sleeping, and occasionally pulling clumps of crap from their ratty hair. In this, it seems to me that monkeys are not unlike potheads.

SM: If you were to illustrate your great great grandson facing his arch-nemesis, how would you render this most unusual circumstance?

CF: In the piece, my great great grandson, Fletcher Ramirez Boudoin Finnegan would stand triumphantly above his vanquished foe, ready to plunge a light saber (they won’t call it a “light saber”, due to trademark infringement, but for all intents and purposes it’s a light saber) into his chest. And above the brave young lad’s head, a word bubble reading, “Make peace with thy maker, Jimmy Fallon IV!”

SM: If you were heard to exclaim, “There’s that thing I was telling you about!”, what would you most likely be pointing at?

CF: Punani.

SM: Please describe an impressionable moment from your childhood.

CF: Every spring in grade school, we’d have what was called a “Field Day”, where all of the students would compete in decathlon-style events (although, if I’m not mistaken, the “Old Clothes Race” was recently removed from Olympic competition). Despite my very rather established reputation as a dork, I saw Field Day as an opportunity for me to boost my stature among my fourth grade classmates. The problem was, I had very little in the way of clean laundry on that particular day. This was a real problem, as one’s Field Day outfit was of the utmost importance. After trying on several different combinations, I found myself wearing a pair of extremely high-cut purple shorts with white piping-like Bruce Jenner wore, or so I told myself. Up top, I wore a green camouflage t-shirt that, looking back, was just a wee bit too snug (even then, I was what a clothier might call “husky”). But as I stood there, studying myself in the mirror, I remember thinking, “Hmm. A bold choice, this ensemble. Maybe this is exactly kind of thing that will blow everyone away. Yes, no doubt about it: I look awesome.”

It took only me stepping onto the school bus to know I’d made a grave error in judgment. Apparently, I did not look awesome. What I looked like, according to my bus mates, was a word that my guidance counselor later told me meant ‘a bundle of sticks’. But the image that will forever haunt me is the look of withering disdain I got from a popular girl, whose opinion of me mattered for some reason I cannot now fathom. When she spotted me in my purple shorts/snug camouflage shirt combo, Jen Gardner gave me a look that said something to the effect of, “It’s not that just that you’re a loser. It’s that I’ve always suspected you were a loser, and now you’ve finally proven it to the world.”

P.S. For the record, I was able to shake off the ego bruising long enough to snag 3rd Place in the Egg Toss.

Interview with Davy Rothbart • Co-Creator of FOUND Magazine, Contributor to NPR’s “This American Life”

SM: What is the best reason you can think of for anyone to do anything?

DR: To try and meet girls!

SM: What did you want to happen to you by now?

DR: Well, I really wanted to get drafted by the Detroit Pistons. My services are still available, so Joe Dumars – if you’re reading this – ring me up dogg!

SM: If you were to illustrate yourself doing something your friends and associates have recommended you start doing, what would you be drawing?

DR: A couple friends of mine, and my ex-girlfriend’s dad, and my high-school English teacher, whenever they see me they say, “Hey, are you writing? Are you working on the novel?” This is a novel I’ve been shooting my mouth off about for years but have never actually started. But I like being harangued about it. I need that, it’s motivational, in a way. So I’d draw myself writing.
And my mom and some of my roommates are always bugging me to sleep at nighttime instead of all day. They say, “You just need a regular sleep schedule, then you’ll feel better all the way around.” But I do sleep regular, it’s just from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.!
I like that they care, though. So I’d draw myself sleeping at night.

SM: When was the last time you felt like you couldn’t stop moving?

DR: Umm, today. I just got home from this 50-state FOUND tour, and now it looks like I’m headed to Sri Lanka in a minute. Being still is difficult.

SM: To what degree do you trust your perception?

DR: Like, ninety-six percent? A whole lot, I guess, but that doesn’t mean there’s not some times when I’m completely off base about something.

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

DR: Okay. So I just got home from a year of travelling a couple weeks ago, and tonight I’ve been reading through all the finds that landed here while i’ve been gone. I try to sort them into the really good ones that I could use for FOUND Magazine or the next FOUND book and the not-as-great ones which we’ll tape to the covers of the next issue of the magazine. A strange winter thunderstorm rolled through around midnight as I sat on my bed reading all these notes. The windows shook, blue lightning filled the room. There’s a lot of sadness in so many of these notes, and over the course of several hours reading through ’em, this gradually accumulating weight always begins to settle in. Most of the notes don’t have loud, piercing pain (though a couple do)…
more it’s just this heaviness, the hollowness of dreams deferred, hopes thwarted, people wanting things so badly that they’re probably not gonna get, though they haven’t really fully allowed themselves to realize that yet. After 100 notes I had to get out of my room.
So I went walking out in the rain and decided to go shoot baskets across the street at the park. Under the little wooden awning there, a fortyish guy was sleeping on a picnic table in the cold.
He sat up and said, “Dave?” I didn’t recognize him and nobody really calls me Dave, but I figured he was maybe someone I’d played ball with in the past or something. The guy seemed especially glad to see me, which felt good, you know… to be recognized, it felt like i was beginning to be a part of this neighborhood, where i’ve lived for two years though I’ve barely been around. The guy’s name was Clifford. We shot around for half an hour, not really talking much, just taking shots, chasing loose balls down in the wet grass and passing ’em back out to the other, a quiet 2 a.m. kind of fellowship.
The storm moved on and there was just the sound of rain dripping in the trees, leaf to leaf, and the ball clanging off the rim.
Finally I was ready to come back inside and when I left, Clifford said bye, and from what he said I realized that the whole time he’d mistaken me for somebody else: “OK, Dave, say hi to your uncle and Gary, tell ’em Old Clifford from Lansing Tool & Die owes ’em a drink!” But it sort of didn’t matter that he’d been confused, the
whole thing was nice regardless.

SM: If you woke up to find all the clocks running twice as fast, and the people around you going just as quickly with them, how would you spend your day?

DR: I guess I’d just get drunk and go to the tittie bar, same as usual.

SM: When was the last time you felt completely understood?

DR: Talking to my friend Alex Blumberg on the phone yesterday. And listening to Kid Rock’s song “Only God Knows Why” a couple nights ago.

SM: If there was a door anyone could open to see inside your head, what would someone have to say in order to open it?

DR: They’d have to actually do the dance Gene Wilder does in the movie “The Silver Streak” when Richard Pryor paints him with shoe polish to avoid the police at the train station in St.Louis.

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

DR: Okay, this comes from a t-shirt I own, though on the shirt it’s not
really meant as a poem so much as a declaration. This is also what
I want to name the novel I was talking about earlier, if I ever
really write it:

Yo “Baby”
I’m Real,
so, Don’t ask me 4 shit!

Interview with Martín Espada • Poet

SM: When was the last time you felt like you were a part of an unbreakable circle?

ME: I recently made the mistake of hanging my son’s Burmese albino python around my neck. Now that’s an unbreakable circle. Slowly, the snake realized that my head was not a live mouse, and released her grip.

SM: If you were to consider yourself a vessel, what would be your passenger?

ME: My passenger would be a little man with a captain’s hat, yelling at me: What iceberg? Full speed ahead!

SM: When was the last time you felt at home in a strange city?

ME: In Isla Negra, Chile, the home of Pablo Neruda, a man lifted his boy up to me and said: “Son, this is a poet.” I was home.

SM: If you were able to have a conversation with the street on which you live, what do you suppose it would have to say?

ME: Damn you, bearlike man! Your size fourteen shoes leave tracks on my soul.

SM: Please indulge us with an anecdote.

ME: There are some preconceived notions out there about how Puerto Ricans are supposed to sound, look, dress, etc. Once I was invited to give a reading at a middle school by a teacher who asked me to wear my “native costume.” In February. I showed up wearing a traditional shirt called a guayabera over a turtleneck, and said: “Look, kids! Cultural adaptation.” They didn’t invite me back.

SM: If you were to encounter a girl coming out of a hidden door behind a bookcase in your home, what would be the first thing you would say to her?

ME: I would give her my best advice about life: Never pretend to be a unicorn by sticking a plunger on your head.

SM: Please describe your walk to someone who has never seen it.

ME: My left ankle has been cursed by some ancient pagan deity: a tumor, a fracture, a ruptured tendon, and scars closing resembling the B&O railroad. Therefore, I drag my left leg along like Boris Karloff in a Frankenstein movie, scaring small children to the other side of the street.

SM: When was the last time you talked your way out of an unpleasant situation?

ME: I learned how to talk my way out of unpleasant situations when I worked as a bouncer and the bar doubled the cover charge from fifty cents to a dollar. Now I write political poems in the age of the illiterate presidency. Every time I open my mouth to declaim one of these poems, I am talking my way out of an unpleasant situation. Fortunately, nobody’s listening.

SM: Please fish around in your stream of consciousness and tell us the first thing that comes to mind.

ME: Fish. Maybe eel. I do enjoy a deep-fried eel.

SM: What was the first thing you saw when you opened your door this morning?

ME: The question presumes that I opened the door this morning. After Bush was re-elected, I decided that I’m never going out there again. Instead, I have written a haiku for our troubled times:

Sheep Haiku

A lone sheep cries out:
There are more of us than them!
The flock keeps grazing.

Interview with Chris Buck • Photographer

SM: If you were heard to say “I’m ready to fight him now”, what would you likely be referring to?

CB: As the organizer of a weekly street hockey game I have to enforce the game’s rules. There has been occasion when a player has “dropped the gloves” during an argument with me and I was obligated to do the same. Luckily, when this has happened other players have kept us separated, saving me from a sure beating.

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

CB: I’m not one much for picking up what others have discarded (I guess that I was brought up to regard this as unhygienic), that said, I do have a memory of picking up some old porno magazine from the sidewalk. You know that magical quality of an antique having its own previous life and history; well this was the smut version of that.

SM: When was the last time you were in a big hurry to get somewhere, and why?

CB: There is little point in giving a specific example here, as I am constantly hurrying places (I am a late-aholic). My late psychologist (pardon the pun) David Ertel, said that I leave as little time between activities as possible as to not have too much quiet time alone with myself.

SM: What was the last event occurring near an ocean or large body of water that had an impression on you?

CB: My wife’s grandparents recently celebrated their 100th birthdays so we went to see them in Palm Beach, Florida. My wife was one of the only family there and we were the only guests under sixty. It was surreal experience. And I don’t mean that in any way trivializing – it was genuinely moving to be around two people who are 100 years old.

SM:In the middle of the interview, we request an anecdote.

CB: Rather than tell a story here I’m going to give a piece of advice. It’s somewhat obvious but most people don’t do it. When you are try to win someone over, be it a potential client, a lover, or even a photo subject, no matter how genuinely interesting you are every person would rather speak about themselves than hear about you. Keep your end of the conversation focused on asking about their lives and their views and you’ll more likely win their trust and affection. There is nothing logical or reasonable about this but it is human nature.

SM: What would you consider to be a frightening question?

CB: Why do you have no close friends?

SM: What’s the first thing you do when you arrive at a party thrown by strangers?

CB: Check out their CD collection to see if they have good taste (perhaps that answers the question that I fear).

SM: When was the last time you got lost?

CB: We had a busy shooting schedule but at the end of job in Morocco we managed to squeeze in a day for ourselves. Before a day of sightseeing I decided to go for a jog, and I did what I often do when running out of town – I mapped out a loop in my mind and coordinated it to the amount of time I wanted to be jogging. But rather than go out and back on the same street I thought I’d keep it interesting by looping around a few blocks, making it more a of rectangular run. Something about the streets of Marrakesh I didn’t get right and my 25-minute outing was soon 35 minutes, then 45, as I tried to figure out my way back to our hotel. Finally, I choose to approach a young man in an Army uniform getting his motorbike ready in front of his home. I explained, using hand gestures and a couple of French words of my predicament and we were off on his motorcycle. It was great fun, and I’m sure that we were a fine sight – a man in military clothes in front, a pale Canadian in a t-shirt and jogging shorts holding onto him in the back.

SM: Please recommend some components we could put together to catch ghosts.

CB: A South American priest, a diary from a Victorian spinster and Patrick Swayze.

SM: Please describe an impressionable moment from your childhood.

CB: Our family was visiting the backyard pool of some friends when the French exchange student staying with them dropped by the area where the adults were lounging with their cocktails. She was seventeen, pretty and with a nice figure – but in a girl-next-door sort of way. All of the teenagers around were dressed in bathing suits in the way that you might expect teenagers to be in front of their parents, except for this one. Her suit was one piece and cut high in the sides and narrow in the crotch, showing much of her ample pubic hair. When she stepped away from the adults there was a little laughter, and knowing glances exchanged. Their reaction probably included some titillation but it was primarily amusement. From my vantage point, sitting quietly on the side and just a couple of years younger than the girl, I found the whole scene very sexy. Seeing a barely mature young lady parade herself in front of my parents and their friends was something I would not soon forget.