Archive for October, 2010
Wandering away momentarily from the Buffalo Arts Council scandal, I’d like to talk about my next book. Code named ‘Mockery’, I’m planning on throwing a curve ball right past home base. So to speak.
With three years of new material in the can and nine books (including the Voices From The Herd anthology), I’m in no hurry to release or promote something new. Unless it’s something special.
The idea hit me like a ton of bricks and after doing a million promotions, in-store appearances and readings over the last ten years, it was time for a change. I thought about what I enjoyed reading, what made sense and honestly (after both Breathing Rooms), how the content naturally fit. It’s time for a book devoted to what I do best: comedy.
Over the course of a weekend, I took about 300 pages of essays and picked out my favorites. The lean, mean beasts of the pack. Out of all of the available material, I harvested 130 choice pages of concentrated hilarity and lined them up to mirror the pacing, timing and structure of a standup comedy routine, with light laughs and superficial material at the beginning leading in to the crux of my angst and closing out with a strong, steady finish that brings it all back around.
I’m a slow learner. We’ve been over this. But personally, as a reader, I’ve always enjoyed reading essay collections that top out at around 130 pages. I love Andy Rooney, but he runs too long for his own good. The funniest book I’ve ever read (or in all likelihood, will ever read) is Steve Martin’s Pure Drivel, which closes out at 130 tight, well constructed pages. It’s high time to follow the path that Hemingway and Fitzgerald carved out. Less is more, and economy of line packs more of a wallop than a whopper of a book in weight.
The material I’ve chosen has a flow that’s refreshing compared to my previous collections. I’m very excited, and it’s been a long time since I’ve gotten worked up over my own work. With a new direction and a vastly evolved battle plan, I’ve got a fresh start. I’ll be hammering out a lower price point, too, which will attract a larger base of readers.
Slapstick & Superego was a beautiful project and a great book, and I’m proud of the material, the appearance and the layout. I jumped ship on the promotions though simply because I was exhausted from promoting. With Mockery, I feel energized because everything feels new again, so Slapstick will get the readings and signings it deserved right alongside Mockery.
I’m proud to note that graphic designer Evangeline Barbour is heading up the cover design and interior of the book. We’ve got a very specific look for this book that appeal to my vintage graphic novel sensibilities. Fan favorite Mike Hilliard (better known as Intentionally Bald Mike) will be penning the intro. I’m also in the midst of discussions with web/graphic designer Brian Platter (Six Shot Studios) for a brand new web site due out before or at the same time as the book launch that wows, informs and titillates.
The sad news is that you’re just going to have to be patient for the new book, as I’m taking my time with this one. Tentatively slated for a spring of ’11 release, I’m going to make sure this baby is perfect before we deliver it to the rest of the world. Trust me when I say it’ll be worth the wait. Throw your preconceived expectations out the window and strap yourself in for a reading experience that’ll make you laugh yourself into a brain aneurysm. I’m not even kidding.
It appears that I was wrong concerning the Buffalo Arts Council misappropriation of funds story. According to a close source, the person involved spent above and beyond her entertainment budget without the receipts to back up the expenses. I’m reevaluating the situation and turning the facts over in my head.
The previous post, however, received a lot of positive replies and affirmations regarding the other topics presented.
One Buffalo writer wrote that ‘This needed to be said. Please submit it to the Buffalo News as a My View. My guess is they don’t have the stones to publish it.’ So I did just that. We’ll see if it runs in the next week and since it is topical, there’s a good chance it might.
A prominent local television host wrote that ‘I have noticed exactly this since moving back here in 1991. I have exposed it in zines, tv & radio shows for years. This observation is correct. I know from being one of the “excluded”…’
A close source wrote me with the new facts. According to them, ‘(this individual’s) job was to represent the whole arts community by going to conferences, meeting with funding agencies, and overseeing the day to day operations of the Arts Council, in other words “mind the store”. She was renting a car and going to art conferences and paying the entry fee (saving her receipts). Buying office supplies (saving her receipts). The problem was she was OVERSPENDING the amount allowed in the budget. ‘
‘…They called in the District Attorney’s office. Somehow the Buffalo News erroneously reported that she had a gambling problem. (This individual) showed up in court, produced the receipts from every expenditure, the DA pointed out that she should have known she was going over budget and not “hidden” it from the board. It was her job to “mind the store”. The judge put her on probation and told her she must pay back all the money she spent without board approval.’
And another person involved in the arts in Buffalo wrote simply, ‘Preach on, brotha man!’
As a journalist, the facts should have been checked. Thank you all for your emails and your opinions on the elitist nature of the arts scene in Buffalo as well as the hidden truth behind such a sensational story. I’m not sure if overspending an allotted budget somehow makes the situation morally better than gambling it away because that seems like a pretty large margin of error, but at least we’re a bit more informed.
I apologize for the oversight,
In addition to the rest of the products and services that lulu offers to authors, they’ve added the ability to discount our books. So I’m going to try a little experiment. For the month of October, all of the books available from Doubt It Publishing on lulu.com will be 10% off. For those of you who start your holiday shopping in September, now’s the time to jump on a great deal for friends and family who like laughing and like reading. If book sales improve, I might keep it that way. If not, whelp, it was worth trying out. All you have to do is click on the links to the right for Slapstick & Superego, Breathing Room vol.I or vol.II and even 12 Priests and 3 Gnomes by David Waters and BAM!, you’re right there. Ladies and gentleman, start your orders!
In other developments, musician and long time pal in ‘this business of show’ Gregg Sansonne has been tentatively booked for the next episode of Big Words Radio on October 28th. I’ve wanted to do an in-studio concert with a split format for some time now (half interview, half private show) and we could finally pull it off. Gregg’s a 4-time consecutive Buffalo Music Award winner (Artist Of The Year) and I’ve been a fan of his performances since 2001. We should be in for a real treat when he hunkers down in the studio with me. That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so have a great one.
Justine and Cindy have booked a reading on Friday, November 5th at 7:30 p.m. at Spot Coffee on the corner of Delaware and Chippewa for the first of many promotions for Voices From The Herd. If you are a contributor and you would like to read and/or attend, please JOIN the discussion on the official group page and state your intentions. They’ve asked me to message all of you so that we can reach as many members as possible. If you aren’t a contributor and you’re interested in attending so that you can support Just Buffalo and the project by buying a copy of the book and having it signed by the contributors, please join the discussion on the group page and let us know about that, too. We’d like to have a ballpark idea of how many copies to bring to Spot so that we don’t sell out before we meet demand.
And finally, if anyone is willing to loan PA equipment for the event, we’re looking for a microphone, a mic stand and some speakers/equalizers for the event. Please remember that this is a non-profit publicity junket, so any help would be appreciated.
Thank you in advance for your interest in Voices From The Herd and we hope to see you there!
Something strange happened in September. Sadly (for reasons unknown) the people at mypodcast.com shut down the Big Words Radio site. After checking the Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour at mevio.com, I noticed an uptick on downloads. At the close of the month, almost 500 episodes have been downloaded evenly between all 65 existing shows. This is a considerable surge in traffic.
It’s been five months since a new show was posted and ten since I’ve been in the studio. Obviously, people are listening, so it’s time to get back in there and churn out some comedy gold. I’ve booked some studio time at Think Twice Radio for Thursday, October 28th at 7 p.m. and I fully intend on making the most of it. I’m working on getting some new types of celebrity guests for the show; comedians, actors, national musicians, etc.
One of the main reasons I stopped doing the show was because of sudden celebrity and/or co-host cancellations. A lot of prep work goes into each episode and it was aggravating when someone like, say, Mary Carey spaced on the date or when someone thought it was for the following week even after I sent out one week reminder emails. This is bound to happen, but we had an alarming string of them.
New co-host Kevin Minnick will be joining me in the studio. I’ve put the feelers out for a guest and I’ll let you know when we’ve confirmed one. If you have any suggestions or a lead on a celebrity guest, email the show at email@example.com.
In other news, Voices From The Herd: An Anthology For Buffalo, NY has already raised almost $200 for the Just Buffalo Literary Center. Just Buffalo had a chance to look at the book and they were very pleased with the appearance and the content within. Editor Cindy Mantai and Justine Janora will be launching a publicity campaign for the book this fall and for the upcoming holiday season. If you haven’t purchased a copy yet ($13), you can do so by visiting lulu.com or by clicking the Voices From The Herd link in the right hand column of this site.
That’s all for now. Stay tuned for more details. Thanks,