Flirting With Disaster; or, When Sean Met Sally

Your Big Blue Host

(image courtesy April Muniz)

On May 14, 2014, I had the distinct privilege of hosting the Big Blue Door Jam, a night of story-telling with the theme “Flirting With Disaster”.

If you are in the Charlottesville area, you should definitely plan to attend more of these events, and take Joel Jones’ Telling True Stories classes. Joel is a fine teacher and you learn a great deal about one of the most intrinsic human experiences: telling stories.

As host, my job was to keep things moving, introduce the story tellers, remind the audience of other events, and to announce the evening award winner. While the ballots were being counted, I also had a few minutes to tell a story of my own.

You can listen to me tell it here, or read the text below. It’s one of my favorites.

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“Bo Regards”

My contribution to the 2014 24/7 show at Live Arts in Charlottesville, VA. I was given a cast of two women, one men, and one female cameo; the theme of the evening was “wishful thinking” and my prompt was “ex-pat in Paris”. I had to write a play overnight, and as I sat down to write, I learned that my own Uncle Bo had passed away that day. This is the result.

Written on January 24 and performed on January 25, 2014. With Noel Derecki, Amy Barrick, Maria Trapnell, and Mendy St. Ours. Directed by Barbara Roberts.

Full text below. All photos courtesy of Lance Buckley’s 24/7 flickr feed.
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Priorities

My First Comic

JLA #83

“Where Valor Fails… Will Magic Triumph?”

In the summer of 1970, while on vacation in Santa Cruz, CA., I bought my very first comic book. I had seen Archie and Disney comics before, and I knew Batman and Superman from the TV, but I had no idea that they existed in an integrated universe. And who were all these other masked heroes on the cover? The comic was JLA #83, the second of a two-part JLA/JSA crossover, and I must have read it dozens of time until it finally fell apart.

I recently reread an archive version of Justice League of America #83 and my gawd was it a good story! I didn’t realize it at the time, but that was also my first Denny O’Neil comic, a marvelous writer who went on to redefine Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Batman, and Superman. In JLA #83, however, he wove a fantastic tale of two earths (Earth 1 was the home of the contemporary DC heroes and the Justice League; Earth 2 was home to the older WWII-era versions of those same characters in the Justice Society) that are slowly merging as a result of alien machinations in the hope that both will be destroyed in order to release enough energy to build a new planet. The images of startled people seeing their doppelgangers on the street, stretching away into the horizon, and the Spectre stretching his body into a thin membrane just to keep the two earths apart, seared themselves into my memory and inspired my own imagination for decades.

Interestingly, after all these years, I finally read JLA #82, the first part of the story. Although I had been curious about it, it turns out that #83 was really the best one to get. There was no reliable source for these comic books back in my hometown, so I had to content myself with Archie and Disney again for a couple of years until we got back to Santa Cruz. Finally, in the summer of 1972, I picked up another JLA/JSA crossover, JLA #100, written by Len Wein. I’m looking forward to re-reading that soon!

JLA #100

Justice League of America #100

Lulu

“Lulu” was my contribution to Barhoppers 2013, with Claire Chandler as Lulu, cameos by Gene Donovan and Elizabeth Derby, and directed by Sean Chandler. This was recorded at Milli Joe’s Coffeehouse in Charlottesville VA on August 13, 2013. The text is below.
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Hamlet 1979

Thank goodness for parents with deep archives! My mother emailed me this scan recently of a piece that I wrote for my sophomore college English class that my teacher liked so much, it ended up in the student newspaper. In 1979, we were lined up at gas stations to get our rations based on whether we had odd- or even-numbered license plates. I wrote this when I was 18 years old.

hamlet79