Posts Tagged ‘ArtVoice’

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Big Words Video 39.1: ‘My Church’ & 39.2: ‘Wagon Wheel’ w/West Of The Mark

June 8, 2017

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After a lot of misunderstandings, miscommunications and technical difficulties, we filmed the Big Words Video Bonus clips with country supergroup West Of The Mark before the episode of the show as opposed to afterward.  The less said, the better.  They’re a great band and a great group of guys with amazing talent, so please don’t try to read between the lines here.  This is one of those cases where I feel as if the Bonus clips will hold up better over time than the episode itself, though.  Their harmonies are incredible, their timing as a band is really impressive, and to think that they’ve been playing together in one iteration or another for as long as I’ve been a professional writer is miraculous.

Their cover of ‘My Church’ was their pick.  ‘Wagon Wheel’ was a request for my son Benjamin, who loves the Darius Rucker version as well as the original recording by Old Crow Medicine Show.  I was shocked to find out that Bob Dylan co-wrote the song, and that I didn’t know that until I was crediting the clips.  You learn something new every year.  Please enjoy:

 

A big thanks goes out to West Of The Mark for lugging their equipment into the studio, lugging it out and then lugging it in again.  Thanks also to producer Richard Wicka for being patient with the show’s production in the summer when our friendship is strained and we only see each other on the way in and on the way out of each show.  Rich has a strict ‘No Drums, No Bass’ rule that I wasn’t aware of.  I’ll have to remember that the next time I’m crazy enough to shoehorn an entire band into a shoebox.

Do me a favor and SUBSCRIBE to the Channel already, will ya?  Nobody gets paid, we do this for Views.

#BigWordsVideo shall return this month….

Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 26: ‘Matriarch’

July 13, 2016

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This was an episode I looked forward to taping for a very long time.  I saw Heather’s standup back in September (see below) and, from talking to her on and off, knew she’d be a lot of fun in the studio.  She’s a natural comedienne, she’s funny, off-the-cuff and incredibly clever.  After two co-host hopefuls dropped out, I tapped Brian Bogucki at the last minute and it turned out that he had a Buffalo Comedy connection! Six degrees of Buffalo, indeed.  We all had a great rapport right off the bat before the cameras started rolling.  Some shows are painful to watch afterwards and this wasn’t one of them.  I thought the pacing was great, the jokes were organic and the conversation just flowed.  I wish every comic was this ‘on’ when they came on.  There’s a lot more coming down the pike, too.  In the mean time though, see for yourself:

Thanks to Heather, Brian, and of course producer Richard Wicka for allowing all this insanity in his home every single month.  PLEASE SUBSCRIBE!  #BigWordsVideo will return in roughly two weeks with Rochester director Charlie Simmons!

Tom

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Big Words Video 26.1: ‘Lewd & Lascivious’ & 26.2: ‘Lysergic’

July 5, 2016

Comedienne Heather Stack is self-assured, conversational, and yes, really funny on stage.  Since she was originally booked for #BigWordsVideo back in October of 2015, I met her out at her open mic at The Tudor Lounge the month before to shoot some footage.  What follows is her opening set as well as a bonus bumper clip between other comics.  As Heather (and Tyrone Maclin) have explained to me, one of the host’s duties while running an open mic for other comics is not to run too long.  It was fortunate that Heather got a good opening set in before an evening of other great comics.  See for yourself:

 

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Poetry Month: Stealing Their Spirit

April 18, 2016

In honor of poetry month, I thought it would be fun to post five poems in the next five days.  This one (‘Stealing Their Spirit’) originally appeared in ArtVoice in 2007 under the wrong title (‘Prize Fighters’).  It’s from my first book of poems Breathing Room Volume I: Free Verse (2008, Doubt It Publishing). 

 

stealing their spirit

i used to take photographs

of the girls I wanted so desperately

to sleep with.

 

there are albums filled with their

quizzical wonder

impromptu smiles

forlorn profiles

in dim lit bars

as the flash

took them by surprise.

 

these were shortly

followed by landscape

scenarios

with the muse in question

somewhere in the foreground

taken with the camera

and the man behind it.

 

then bedroom motifs

ruffled hair

morning breath and no makeup

dark sunrises where sex hid

in dawn shadows

in black & white

 

turn the page and they are gone

not a trace

no hint as to what transpired

the blossoming subject

vanished;

replaced by a new lass

a new love

as long as the 35 mm rolls contended.

 

no sign of a fight

nor glimpse of hurt feelings

drunken fumblings

discovered cheating

just rolling pastures, crisp monochrome profiles

& the sweeping ephemera

of neon bar signs, snowscapes,

bedposts, apartments in

dissarray

shortly followed by their replacement.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Rapid Fire: Interview With Brian Azzarello from If They Can’t Take A Joke (2007, Authorhouse)

October 8, 2015

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Brian Azzarello is a tricky interview. I knew this going in, and tried to set up enough pitfalls and death traps along the way that he’d be bound to open up. Who knew that grilling was the topic that would wind him up and get him to open up a bit? The comic writer has turned the industry on it’s ear over the last five years, creating the award winning crime series 100 Bullets and applying his own personal hard-boiled genius to Batman, Superman, The Incredible Hulk (Banner), Hellblazer and Lex Luthor, infuriating some traditionalist fans and picking up some more of his own at the same time. He is to comics what Lon Chaney was to method actors. He dives into his dialogue head first and soaks it up on subways, street corners and dive bars. He knows the street and the words his characters bluster and swear and shout with is genuine. He’s also released Johnny Double, re-tooled Marvel’s Cage and worked on El Diablo. To be short and sweet (which is the way he prefers to write his dialogue and the way he prefers his music, conversation, and art), he is a bitch to interview. He’s squirrely and you need to move mountains very quickly to get past those defenses.

TW: Who was your inspiration for Agent Graves?
BA: Who? Lee Marvin.
TW: You’re obviously a fan of hard boiled crime fiction. Would you care to name some influences?
BA: Oh, god, just the usual suspects, I suppose. Thompson, Wolvert, Goodis. Goodis more than the rest.
TW: You’ve been known to listen to dialogue on subways and in bars. Do you research specific locales for specific titles and has it ever put you in any dangerous situations?
BA: No. No, it’s never…I’ve never been in a situation I couldn’t handle.
TW: How many other creator-based projects are you hiding?
BA: Hiding? I’m pretty open with ‘em to be honest with you, you know? I’ve got a series coming out in October called Loveless, which is a Western. It’s gonna be another ongoing series like 100 Bullets. It’s about a husband and wife…a pair of outlaws during Reconstruction. We’re calling it a noir spaghetti western.
TW:Are you serious about hanging up the capes after your tour of duty with Superman, Batman and Lex Luthor?
BA: Am I serious? Hell yes.
TW: You’ve been well praised for realistic and faithful dialogue of the underworld. Are you a fan of David Mamet?
BA: Yeah. Yeah, sure. Not everything. (laughs)
TW: Who are your favorite country singers?
BA: You mean like current?
TW: All time, current, if you want to go back to the great storytellers or current day…
BA: All time, it’s gotta be Cash. Current, I like Jim White a lot, and definitely Steve Earle.
TW: Cage was phenomenal.
BA: Thanks.
TW: Why did you decide to leave the ending open, though, and do you have any plans to revisit the character?
BA: No, he’s dead, c’mon. I’m…maybe. I think Marvel took that character in a different direction, though.
TW: Between your script and Corben’s artwork, it really blew me away.
BA: Well, you really can’t go wrong with the source material. I just basically did ‘Red Harvest’.
TW: What’s your working relationship like with Eduardo Risso? Have you met him yet at this point?
BA: Oh yeah, I have, we’ve met. We see each other basically about once a year. It’s great, you know? We communicate mostly through email.
TW: Do you have any plans to work with Richard Corben again?
BA: We’ve talked about it, yeah. I definitely would like to work with Richard again.
TW: You’ve been very vocal about fan boys in the past. Why do you think they hang on to their franchises so tightly?
BA: (long laugh) You mean…
TW: A lot of them have complained in the past about directions that you’ve taken with Hellblazer or some of the other big titles for DC and Marvel. They piss and moan about…
BA: They want what they remember, you know? And basically, yeah, it’s not what you remember, or what they remember. It’s…for a lot of these people, it’s like, comics, it’s like…they still read the things?
But they’re reading it for something that they’re not gonna get. They’re chasing that first orgasm again.
TW: What’s your favorite whiskey?
BA: I can’t drink the stuff anymore.
TW: Not even Knob Creek?
BA: Nah, that was my favorite. No man, I just look at a shot glass of whiskey and I get a hangover these days. Now I drink tequila.
TW: That’s how you wake up in another state with no pants.
BA: That isn’t necessarily a bad thing!
TW: How did you plan John Constantine’s cross-country trip initially?
BA: Initially, I just threw him in prison. I didn’t plan to move him anywhere.
TW: You write a lot of your best scenes in a bar environment. Do you write any of your outlines or scripts while you’re in bars?
BA: I used to, but I really don’t anymore. Well, if I’m outta town, yeah, but I can’t do that here anymore.
TW: Too loud?
BA: No. Like…I don’t know, I get interrupted.
TW: Hard Time was one of the best story arcs in the series. Did you have a ball writing the script or is it more like a job when you’re assigned to an established series?
BA: No, definitely it was not a job. I had fun writing Constantine. A lot of fun.
TW: Any more hints on the finale to 100 Bullets?
BA: No hints. Nothing.
TW: It felt like you lived and breathed New Orleans in 100 Bullets: The Hard Way; Have you vacationed there and if so, for how long?
BA: Yeah, I’ve been there a number of times. I’m going again this winter.
TW: Raymond Carver or Raymond Chandler?
BA: Oh man, that’s hard!
TW: If you had to pick.
BA: If I had to pick? I can’t! I can’t pick…no! That’s tough! You know, on one hand it’s like…you go with Chandler, but…if you go with Carver, there’s so much more stories.
TW: Well I know you’re a fan of minimalism and economy of dialogue, and Carver was great at doing that.
BA: Oh yeah, I think so too. He would use the fewest amount of words to just bum the piss out of you.
(laughs)
TW: I found out today that you enjoy cooking. What’s your favorite recipe?
BA: Oh god, I don’t know. I cook all the time. It’s probably…five nights a week, sometimes six. I just got a new grill so I’ve been grilling every night.
TW: I got a Sunbeam a few months ago and took a ’phd in grilling’.
BA: See now, I had a gas grill, and all the guts had to be replaced, so like, in between doing that, I just pulled out a little smoky grill, and I’m using that thing again. I forgot how wood makes food taste. Then after a while I got this thing called the Big Green Egg. It’s this big, ceramic, wood fire grill, like a kiln. It’s all ceramic.
TW: I used to be a prime rib fan and now I’m all for Porterhouse.
BA: Oh, yeah! Porterhouse, you get the two best cuts.
TW: Why did you decide to humanize Killer Croc?
BA: He needed it. I mean, I think…I think the Batman villains work better if they’re human. ‘Cause he…Killer Croc started out as human! I just brought him back to his roots is all.
TW: Have you ever considered doing anything with Swamp Thing?
BA: Probably not. We talked about it, but I don’t think so. Not at this point, anyway.
TW: What was the last comic you read that humbled you?
BA: Whew, geez.
TW: Something that really blew you away.
BA: Let me look here. I’m looking at, like, all the recent stuff I got. Oh, well the last thing that really, really blew me away was Joe Kubert’s Yossel. A hardcover came out from, I think IDW…the publisher. I-Books rather was the publisher.
TW: I read Ex Machina right after Cage and it just hit me like a ton of bricks.
BA: They’re two different tons, too. (laughs) Brian (K. Vaughn) comes from a completely different place than I do with his stories.
TW: Frank Miller took Batman backward and forward. Mark Waid took the entire DC Universe into the future. Will you ever pen an aging icon in the industry?
BA: Man, I don’t know. I have no clue.
TW: (exasperated) I gotta say, you’re a tough interview! (laughing)
BA: Yeah, I’ve heard that before.
TW: I keep hoping I’m gonna hit some landmine here…
BA: Yeah, well, working on the company of characters right now, it’s just, it’s not anything I really want to do.
TW: Well, I know that working on superheroes isn’t what you enjoy…
BA: No, it’s not what I enjoy, and after working on ‘em, it’s…I know why I don’t enjoy them! (laughs) It seems like a lot of the stuff…the whole point is to get to the punch, and that’s kind of juvenile. Especially when there’s guns around.
TW: Speaking of guns, Sgt. Rock: Between Hell and a Hard Place was very good.
BA: Thanks. That was a good experience, working with Joe (Kubert). I mean…it…I’ve been lucky with my artists, know what I mean?
TW: What would you like your epitaph to say?
BA: One more for the road (laughs)
TW:How did Jim Lee talk you into a chat room with Kilgore Trout? The interview came off with this particular fan boy as a bit obnoxious.
BA: With Kilgore?
TW: Yeah.
BA: I don’t know if he was obnoxious, he just like…ehh…I think he was a little close-minded. It’s not just him, but a lot of people have very, very specific ideas of what these characters are and how they’re supposed to operate. And if you deviate from those, you are, you don’t understand them.
TW: They hang on too tight.
BA: Yeah, you know, and it’s…yeah.
TW: You’ve mentioned that you don’t have any plans to work with Jill (Thompson, Azzarello’s wife) on anything, but do you two compare notes, or…
BA: We talk about stuff, yeah. That’s one of the reasons why we probably won’t work together.
It’s much better to approach each other’s stuff with a fresh eye.
TW: (exasperated) That’s all I’ve got! I put two weeks of work into these questions!
BA: Well, do you wanna revisit some of these questions? You can pull something else out if you want.
TW: (sighs) I uh…really wanted to reread more of your stuff. I got to volume four of 100 Bullets and have been tied up with a lot of other things, reading other things. What are you working on right now?
BA: What was I working on today when you called? 100 Bullets.
TW: Are you one of those writers who gets up at the asscrack of dawn at 6 am with a cup of coffee and goes to work?
BA: I usually am up about six or seven. Coffee, newspaper, sit down…
TW: You said once before that you wanted to do a sequel to Johnny Double. Is that on the horizon?
BA: No, I doubt that’ll ever happen right now. There’s other things goin’ on. The next…after Loveless, right now, I’m in development with for three graphic novels. One a year for the next few years.
TW: Do you see any other spinoffs with any of your work? Once 100 Bullets is done, do you see any of the peripheral characters off on their own?
BA: Not for me. When it’s done it’s done, as far as I’m concerned. Unless I’m broke and say, ‘Hey, let’s go back’.
TW: I heard that DC approached Alan Moore to do a sequel to Watchmen and it just seems wrong.
BA: Eh, it doesn’t hurt to ask. The guy could say yes. After 100 issues of 100 Bullets, though, I’m pretty sure it’ll be done.
TW: Did you have the storyboards and the outline worked out from the first issue?
BA: Our original contract was for just a year. So…I kinda…a decision had to be made. Can you get this down to a year or maybe eighteen months. If it’s not doing well, we’ll give you six issues to wrap it up. That was an option. Instead I just said, well, I said yes. I said I could do it…but there was no way I coulda done it. So I figured, we’ll just tell the twelve and if that’s all we tell that’s all we tell. Fine.
TW: What’s it been like working with Jim Lee? He seems a bit more traditional than a lot of the artists that you’ve worked with. Corben’s got a very recognizable look and Risso has a very distinct style.
BA: Well, so does Jim. As far as the superhero stuff goes, I don’t know if there’s anyone any better than Jim. Working with him, I didn’t treat him any differently. I left him a lot of room to improvise…especially the fight stuff that was in there. I left that kind of choreography to him…how to do it. ‘Cause he does it better than me.
TW: I think that’s everything I’ve got. I appreciate you taking the time out for me.
BA: (laughs) I mean, I’m a terrible self-promoter.
TW: You’d rather let the work speak for itself.
BA: Absolutely. I don’t want to be a celebrity. The point of my life is to work.

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ArtVoice’s ‘Best Of Buffalo’ Polls are now OPEN!

March 22, 2015

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Hey all,

ArtVoice’s prestigious and king-making ‘Best Of Buffalo’ ballots are now open.  Please take the time to register and vote for Yours Truly as well as any and all friends of my show.  You can sign up and vote right HERE:

ArtVoice Best Of Buffalo

…and here are my recommendations, talented people and loyal friends of #BigWordsVideo.  As long as you have an email address, you’re eligible to vote.  This is a really big deal for a lot of these people, so please take the time to vote.

Best Website: BuffaloComedy.com
Best Poet: Marina Blitshteyn
Best Local Writer: Tom Waters
Best Photographer: Nancy Parisi
Best Video Artist/Filmmaker: Emil Novak Sr.
Best Burlesque Performer: The Stripteasers
Best Standup Comic: Jameel Key
Best Movie Theater: North Park
Best Jazz Musician: Will Holton
Best Rock/Blues Musician: Tommy Z.
Best Jazz Act: Will Holton
Best Rock Act: Black Widow/Widow Maker
Best Country Act: Blood Money
Best Original Music: Busted Stuff
Best Acoustic Act: Michael Bly Band
Best Local Hip Hop: Art ‘Way Of Life’ Shepard
Best New Band: Folkfaces
Best Open Mic: Wednesday’s At Milkie’s On Elmwood
Best Club DJ: DJ Soma
Best Female Vocalist: Lana Notaro Hergert
Best Male Vocalist: Michael Hund
Best New Restaurant: Hot Mama’s Canteen
Best Chef: Bob Desiderio
Best BBQ: Al-E-Oops
Best Beef On Weck: My Little Margie’s
Best Burger: Grover’s
Best Steak: The Red Osier
Best Ice Cream: Taffy’s
Best Wings: Penora’s
Best Fish Fry: My Little Margie’s
Best Italian For Family Dining: Desiderio’s/Lancaster Ale House
Best Stellar Restaurant Service: Desiderio’s/Lancaster Ale House
Best Bookstore: WNY Book & Arts Center

Happy Voting & Good Luck, Everybody!

Tom

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A Fond Farewell To Club Watch

February 20, 2012

As of today, I will no longer be writing Club Watch reviews for The Buffalo News.  After a great deal of soul searching and months of talking it over with my wife, we’ve both come to the conclusion that it’s time to move on.  As a writer, I’ve reached an age where I’ve started closing some doors behind me in order to go forward into more challenging directions.

Back in 2001, I fell into the hobby by accident.  I approached Jeff Miers (the editor of Buffalo Beat at the time) about doing a weekly column.  He suggested that I start a bar review section for their alternative weekly and (after accepting), he titled it ‘Boozin’ In The Buff’.  After four or five weeks of reviews, Buffalo Beat got bought out and turned into Blue Dog Press, which also went the way of the dodo.

In 2002 I spent three months researching strip clubs in the U.S. and Canada and wrote ‘A Fistful Of Loonies’, one large, exhaustive expose’ about the lifestyle, the sociology behind it and how the entire microcosm worked.  I pitched it to Ed Honeck (the editor of Night Life magazine) and he ran it in four sections.  You can still read the essay in my first book, Born Pissed.  Once all four parts had run their course, I came to Ed and said, ‘What now?’

For the next five years I was Night Life’s point man for bar and exotic club reviews.  I settled into a gonzo style of reporting where I focused on two things: how cheap the drinks were and how hot the women were.  In many reviews I spent more time writing about what sort of drunken insanity my friends and I had gotten into than the bars themselves.  I got to interview a lot of prominent adult film stars including Mary Carey, Puma Swede and Regan Anthony.

By the time 2007 rolled around Lindsay and I were living together in Lancaster.  Covering exotic clubs was getting old and thanks to a different campaign by the Buffalo News (YourHub, a social network that came and went), I was introduced to Brian Connolly, who was the editor of the Club Watch section at the time.  I sent out some sample reviews and he gave me the green light to start covering assignments.  I drove to the publishing offices for Night Life magazine downtown to break the news to Ed and pitched him on a weekly column (‘Big Words I Know By Heart’).  He understood and accepted the column, so for quite a few years I was on double duty writing the weekly column for Night Life and Club Watch reviews for The News.  Since the Club Watch format was a more stringent style of who, what, when, where and why reporting, I took a lot of the funniest Night Life reviews and published Clean Up After Me, I’m Irish: A Cheap Degenerate’s Guide To Buffalo Bars.  You can still find that book behind a lot of bars in Buffalo as well as online.

So now, after five years of freelancing with The Buffalo News, it’s time to say goodbye.  While I’ll never say never, I could use a long break.  I don’t ever want to reach a point with any of my writing where an assignment feels like a chore, or I feel like I’m phoning an assignment in for a paycheck or writing on autopilot.  Ten years is a long time to write in any format, and I’m sure you know by now that I’ve got a lot of other plates spinning.

Since 2001 I’ve written for The Buffalo News, ArtVoice, Acid Logic, Buffalo Beat, Buffalo Spree, Buffalo Rising, Boy’s Night Out, Alt Press, The Worldwide Freelancer and a score of other dailies, weeklies and online ‘zines.  I’ve accomplished everything I set out to do and prided myself on getting my assignments in well before deadline where print newspapers were concerned.  For the foreseeable future I’d like to focus more on my books, my publishing house and my radio show.  I’d also just like to sit down on a bar stool for the reasons I fell in love with Buffalo bars in the first place: cheap drinks, great ambience and some of the best conversation in the region.

Thanks for all the memories, Buffalo.

Tom Waters

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Big Words Radio Turning Point

July 26, 2011

The fourth year for Big Words Radio could be the final one.

 

Downloads have been dropping steadily for the last two months.  I like to stay productive, but I don’t see a discernable benefit to putting so many man hours into punching up a prospectus, booking guests and slaving over the production, sound editing, intro and outro music and everything else involved with each show if the audience isn’t there.  This time last year the show was on a roll while it was nearing extinction on Mypodcast.com.  Roll the calendar forward by twelve months and we’re moving in the wrong direction.  I’m not quite sure what’s happening or where my crowd went where the radio show is concerned.  The books are selling better than they ever have.  Site hits here & everywhere else have been blowing up.  The new Twitterverse following is growing exponentially.  Big Words Radio is dying a slow death & it doesn’t make sense.  Like some hosts I could pretend that the show is better than ever, but I deal in facts and abide by honesty.

Here’s what’s going to happen: If I don’t see a marked increase in free subscriptions on iTunes or a spike in downloads on Mevio.com by the end of this summer, the show is over.  It’s that simple.  I’m not going to keep investing what little free time I have into trying to make people laugh with over the top outrageous comedy if you’re not down with the cause.  In for a penny, in for a pound.  Now’s the time to show me if you’re listening because if you’re not, I’m not doing it anymore.  I’ll pick up my toys and go home.

Maybe the podcasting boom has burst.  Maybe all of you are busy this summer (very probable).  Maybe my readers only have so much time that they’re willing to devote to waxing my ego.  I get that.  In case you haven’t noticed though, I deal in absolutes.  If the show isn’t growing, then it’s time to close the door.

My career as a writer is turning a very sharp corner this year in an incredibly positive way that I never imagined it would & it’s all happening this year at a lightning pace.  As a podcaster, not so much.  Half of my life is most likely over, so I’d like to make good use of the next half.  Please let me know how to invest my time wisely.

Some radio hosts and some writers can create without one person reading or listening.  I’m not that kind of person anymore.  I’ve got too many plates in the air to play by those rules.

If you want the show to go on, hop onto iTunes & subscribe to Big Words Radio in the podcast section under the ‘Comedy’ listing.  Download your ass off.  There are almost 92 hours of material that’s pretty damned funny.  It’s been a good run, but it might be time to hang up my hat and say farewell.

If you don’t have an iPod, surf on over to:

http://www.bigwords.mevio.com

Download 5 episodes.  Download 92 episodes.  Tell a friend.  Listen in your car.  Please spread the word.  It’s been real and it’s been fun, but this could be the tail end of it.

 

It’s up to you.

Tom Waters

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‘Sweet Is The Smell Of Success’

July 11, 2011

After four long rewarding and exhausting months of promoting Mockery as well as Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind  in the newspapers, on the radio, on the web and in bookstores, coffee houses, bars and anywhere else that would have us, Mark McElligott and I have earned a much needed break for the rest of the summer.  Our little tour was tremendously successful despite spotty attendance, unusual time slots, double bookings (in two separate cases) and other Spinal-Tap-esque occurances.  Mockery is on track to outsell every book I’ve released so far and it’s been selling faster than any book I’ve sold so far.  My wife remarks that every book looks better and tighter than the last.

Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick will be fun to promote, but it’s going to be more of a Travelling Wilburys deal: getting together with old friends and just having a good time for the sake of it rather than running full steam ahead to make money.  I’ve decided to wait until September for any serious promotions but I may pop up in a few unusual places in August.  I was asked to be a celebrity bartender for the third week in August and I may accept.  Mark and I have already booked a convention show at the Marriott in October.  Aside from that, I’m at ease for the next month and a half.  I’ve never traditionally enjoyed promoting books in public settings but this time around was different.  Mark McElligott was a true joy to partner with and we had more laughs than I ever would have expected.  I think that carries through on the live concerts that we decided to post on Big Words Radio.

Brennan’s Bowery Bar was a smash hit last night.  We had a solid turnout and it’s the first reading I’ve ever had where the average book sale was three different copies.  We made a boatload of cash and I’m grateful for every penny we made.  Thanks are in order to Dave Shatzel, Eve Barbour, Jen O’Hare, Lynn O’Hare, Eve Barbour, Nicole Cook, Fred Peterson, Joshua Hanzlion, Jeff Collins and everyone else who turned out last night.  It was the best way to end a long and winding promotion and we’re going to head back to Brennan’s in the fall for the same deal.

As for the rest of the Mockery & Random Thoughts junket, thanks are in order, so here goes: Eve Barbour, Brian Platter, Stephanie Rhinehart, Ryan Miller, Jennifer Lysiak of Metro Source, Jolene Zanghi from Bee Group Newspapers, Brian Kahle, RD Pohl from the Buffalo News, Geoff Kelly from ArtVoice, Dee’s Firehouse, Don and Jon from Don’s Atomic Comics, Maryan’s, Nance Gardner Lang, the Lancaster Public Library, Dog Ears Bookstore in South Buffalo, Jonathan from Talking Leaves, Christy from Rust Belt Books, Tom and the rest of the gang at Finnan’s, Dave Waters, Dave Lopian, Duane Muth, Stockman’s Tavern and every single one of you who were kind enough to come out and see us.  It’s been a long strange trip and this tour of duty is finally over.

This autumn will be a whole different animal.  Mark McElligott will be joining me for some of the promotions while Dave Waters and JR Finlayson will be partnering up for others.  We’re setting our sights for larger territory and we won’t stop at any state line either.  We’re well equipped to take Buffalo by storm all over again and we’re popping out to Rochester, Alfred, Philadelphia, NYC and possibly Charlotte, NC if a few free plane tickets come our way.  This year has been an incredible turning point so far and the last ten are truly starting to pay off exponentially.

 

Thanks for being a part of it,

Tom Waters

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Elston Takes The Gold, Mockery Sells Through & A Few Surprise Books Launching…

May 11, 2011

The ArtVoice 2011 Best Of Buffalo Awards came and went and Jon Elston (the resident playwright for the Road Less Travelled Theater Company) won for Best Writer.  To be honest, there’s no one I’d rather lose to.  Jon’s a talented and prolific writer in addition to being a great guy and we’ve known each other too long to let something as petty as an awards show get in the way of our friendship.  Congratulations are long overdue for Jon and his accolades are well deserved.  I suppose I’ll just have to campaign harder and start earlier next year when it comes to AV’s poll process.

On to more pressing business and the importance of timing, though.  A funny thing happened on the way to the Caz Coffee reading: I checked my inventory and somehow I’ve gotten down to two remaining copies of Mockery.  The book has performed so well for the initial slate of launch events that my first payload is depleted.  The book is doing very well and it’s selling a lot faster than I expected, surpassing the break even mark (recouping production and design costs) and far exceeding it.  More copies are on order and they’ll be in stock in time for the Talking Leaves Main reading next Thursday (7 p.m.) as well as the reading and signing at Stockman’s Tavern with Mark McElligott on the 21st (7 p.m.).  If you want or need a copy before then, you can pick one up at either Talking Leaves location or order direct from my distributor at http://www.lulu.com.

As far as book releases go, I’ve always tried to release no more than one of my own books for year.  That policy is changing.  With the amount of people who have voiced their interest in the autobiography (Icarus On The Mend), there’s another side project that’s been scooted front and center in order for me to release an Icarus limited-run numbered hardcover in the fall of 2012 (50 copies) followed by a two volume trade paperback launch in 2013.  The manuscript for the memoirs is massive, and it’ll take no less than six months to proof, edit and revise.  After promoting Mockery and doing some light piggyback promotions in the fall with Mark McElligott, I’ll be blocking out some time to dig my heels in and get the work done.

This week I finalized the structure and the basic manuscript for Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick, my third book of poems.  Unlike Breathing Room Volume I and II, it’s a step in a different direction: an original one.  While both Breathing Rooms were an homage to the people who inspired me to write poetry (Charles Bukowski, e.e. cummings, Rosemary Koethe and Tracy Zullo, respectively), Scorpion shows evidence of an emerging, original voice.  Like any writer (and much in the same manner in which I started out writing essays), I aped my favorites.

The wake of that process has a momentum of its own, and the result is an amalgamation of some standard tricks along with quite a few new ones.  The Breathing Room  books were never blockbusters in terms of sales, but the content was important to me, and they’ve sold slowly and steadily enough to warrant a third collection.  The response I’ve gotten from those of you who enjoy poetry as well as those of you brave enough to try something new has been overwhelmingly positive encouraging.

The only speed bump in working on the layout was dealing with comments from many of you that Volume I: Free Verse was the best book I’ve ever written.  How in the hell do you top a comment like that?  With hard work, frequent revisions and a liberal dose of elbow grease.  Much like the pre-production on Mockery, I’ve gone out of my way to creative a cohesive, seamless book that can be read in one sitting.  Anything that didn’t feel right got tossed and anything written after the initial draft that felt like it belonged alongside the source material was added.  I hope that you’ll be pleased with the results.  Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick is slated for a September release this year.  I’ve already got an artist working on the cover art (mixed media) and Brian Platter from Six Shot Studios will be working on the interior design and cover layout.  More details as we get closer to the launch.

Meanwhile Mr. Mark McElligott is doing quite well with his Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind.  His debut collection of rants broke even the week it came out (within two days of sales) and the word of mouth on how funny the book is has been generating a lot of referral sales.  While my humor leans towards the universal, sarcastic and psychotic, his headspace is a lot more user friendly.  Mark’s manuscript won me over with his unique voice, his left-field observations and his bravery in the face of self-deprecation.  It’s paying off.  Doubt It Publishing’s first release from a single author is a hit.  The book will continue to reach new heights (and sales records) once we actually begin promoting it next Saturday at Stockman’s.

And finally, I’d like to work a plug in for an old friend and comrade.  JR Finlayson (whom you may remember from the Monsters Of Verse) has released Multiples Of Eleven, his first full-length collection of poems for the clever price of $11.11.  To buy a copy of the book, click on over to:

http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/multiples-of-eleven/15597052?productTrackingContext=search_results/search_shelf/center/1

With one new poetry book out and another one on the way could there be a Monsters Of Verse revival?

I certainly wouldn’t rule it out.

Have a great week and I’ll keep you posted,

Tom Waters

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ArtVoice’s 2011 Best Of Buffalo Nominations/Mockery Promotions Thus Far…

May 1, 2011

After a turbulent week of surprises, promotions and nominations, it’ll be nice to relax for a few days.  The first month of promotions for Mockery is over leaving three months and change for the rest of the scheduled readings and signings.

The Lancaster Public Library reading went off without a hitch and even though the Sabres were busy losing the playoffs, we still had a great turnout with plenty of books sold.  Fellow Monsters Of Verse alumni JR Finlayson made a surprise appearance and read a few selections from his upcoming book Multiples Of Eleven (due out soon).  The evening took an unexpected turn when a few members of the crowd requested (and encouraged) a few passages about manic depression, so I read a piece from First Person, Last Straw along with some of the Jekkyl & Hyde poems from both Breathing Rooms.  Thanks to everyone who attended for making it such an intimate and interesting evening.  I’ll definitely keep the Lancaster Library in mind should Mark McElligott and I decide to promote locally in the fall.

On the same day, Minnesota podcasting great Gary Holdsteady and I recorded Episode 60 of The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour.

You can listen to the show by clicking here:

http://www.mevio.com/episode/278282/episode-60-i-was-hoping-to-get

-Or (as always) you can subscribe to the show for free in the podcast section of iTunes under the ‘Comedy’ category.

Gary and I have been great friends for years and this was one of the few episodes where I didn’t work off of notes or pre-formulated questions.  Our rapport (and his conversational candor) was strong enough that we ad-libbed the entire show with great results.  To hear Gary’s podcast you can listen on iTunes by searching ‘Independant Stream’ or you can listen online by clicking:

http://independentstream.podomatic.com

Thursday proved shocking when ArtVoice announced their 2011 Best Of Buffalo nominees.  Somehow all of you managed to get me on the ballot for their Best Writer category.  The winner hasn’t been announced yet, but regardless of the outcome, I’m deeply grateful to all of you who voted in addition to every one of you who have supported my work for the last ten years by buying a book, making a reading or spreading the word.  I don’t put a lot of stock in contests, but a lot of people look to them to decide what’s hot and what’s not and with the new book out, it can’t hurt to campaign a little bit more.  Keep your fingers crossed and I guess we’ll see who takes home the gold soon enough.

Last night we had a four hour marathon at Don’s Atomic Comics in Depew for ‘Tom’s Atomic Comic Giveaway’ with special guests Mark McElligott (Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind) and Michael Hoffert Jr. (host of ‘It Came From The Longbox’ on http://www.thinktwiceradio.com).  Don and I have done a promotion for every book since Soup To Nuts and his shop is always a favorite destination during the tour.  The sale went great, I recorded a lot of great audio and a few other surprise guests turned up including Monsters Of Verse alumn Carrie Gardner, Monster Matt, John Kindelan and Brian Platter from Six Shot Studios.

The events for this book have been wildly unpredictable compared to previous years.  Te ones I’ve expected to do well haven’t and the ones that I thought would be a waste of time turned out to be anything but.  It’s hard to predict an outcome for anything in Buffalo with so many conflicting events (sporting and otherwise) and such a melting pot of cultural tastes.  Mark McElligott and I are going to keep plugging away until the end of July at a steady pace with our heads up.  Next Saturday (May 7th) I’ll be reading and signing copies of Mockery at the Caz Coffee Café on Abbott Rd. in South Buffalo at 7 p.m.  If you’re free that night I’d love to see you there.

Resting up for the rest of the week,

Tom Waters

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Wrapping Up Loose Ends/Semi-Retirement

April 14, 2011

There’s a lot of new business this week, so I’ll try to cover it all quickly and efficiently.  First and foremost, I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to vote for me in ArtVoice’s 2011 Best Of Buffalo polls. Regardless of the outcome, I truly appreciate everything that all of you have done for me over the years.  You’ve all encouraged my tantrums, supported my work and continued to stand behind me every step of the way.  There is no way to properly express my gratitude for everything that all of you in the Buffalo community (and beyond) have done.  Thank you for riding along with me through all of the peaks and valleys.  I won’t get my hopes up about all this awards business, but I guess we’ll find out together.

Secondly, I’m incredibly proud to announce the early release of comedic ingénue Mark McElligott’s book Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind from Doubt It Publishing, the little publishing house that can and will.  Mark’s a remarkable talent with a one-of-a-kind sense of humor and I’m looking forward to introducing his comedy to newer and larger audiences in Buffalo and beyond.  To buy an early edition of his book, feel free to click on the quick link:

http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/random-thoughts-from-a-broken-mind/15436437?productTrackingContext=search_results/search_shelf/center/1

Mark will be along for the ride this Saturday at Maryan’s at 7 p.m. to show his support.  The two of us will be riding each other’s coat tails for the next three months and then some, so please pop out and give him a warm welcome.  You can either get behind his work now or hop on the bandwagon mid-summer after his work has been lauded and praised by most of the right critics and crowds in Buffalo.  Either way, Mark and I will be storming your doorstep to wring the belly-laughs right out of you.  Support local and hop on this particular book tour not because newspaper a, b or c tell you it’s the hip thing to do but because you can formulate an opinion on your own.  To read a few of Mark’s sample essays, click on over to:

http://www.randomthoughtsbrokenmind.blogspot.com

And finally, on to a tiny bit of nasty business.  After almost a month of provocation from two individuals recently, I was forced to take action.  After facing the consequences of their actions, they had a sudden crisis of conscience.  Let’s get something straight if we can.  I’m getting older.  I’m slowing down, time is at a premium and if it were up to me, I’d be much happier to be left alone and move away from the whole ‘waging war with fill in the blank’ phase of my life.

I’m a married man who’s 35 with ten books under my belt, a publishing house, a radio show that’s a hell of a lot of fun to do and a loyal audience.  I have nothing left to prove and I don’t pick fights or jump into pissing contests for the sake of pride.  As a blanket statement for those of you who wish to attract my immediate and undivided attention be you a publication, radio show, web zine, individual or an author in your own right I beg you to listen carefully when I say this:

Please don’t for both our sakes.

Think like a journalist, gather your facts and draw an informed opinion before you make the hasty decision of taking a run at me.  My fuse gets a lot longer as I get older but that doesn’t mean I won’t employ the full brunt of my investigative knowledge to maximum benefit if you get my dander up.  Kindly leave me alone.  If you want to exorcize your inadequacies or any other number of neuroses on someone rather than seeking therapy, be smart and don’t…pick…me.

I would truly like to be left alone.  Aside from the book promotions, I’m trying to move further away from any kind of public presence, personality or finely tuned image.  Hopefully in five or ten more years my family and I will have a house in the country that’s no less than forty five minutes away from a normal shopping center where I can listen to Bob Dylan, drink whiskey on my porch and an incoming phone call will be a major event.  Please keep this in mind should you choose to wage a war against me.  Poor etiquette will no longer (nor has it ever been) tolerated.

That’s it for today.  Sorry for the negative backlash, but this had to be addressed.

Sincerely,

Tom Waters

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‘Tom Waters Mocks You’ in ArtVoice Daily, AV’s ‘Best Of Buffalo’ Awards

April 3, 2011

Artvoice Managing Editor Geoff Kelly was kind enough to punch up a quick and engaging blurb (with cover photo) about the new book online for their ‘ArtVoice Daily’ section.  To view Geoff’s write-up (with one of the more scathing samples from the book), click over to:

http://blogs.artvoice.com/avdaily/2011/04/01/tom-waters-mocks-you/

Thank you to Geoff and ArtVoice for the wonderful mention.  And again, I’m asking all of you to take the time and (if you’re willing), vote for me for Best Writer and Best Radio Personality in ArtVoice’s ‘Best Of Buffalo’ Awards.  Every little bit of promotion helps for Mockery and AV has a lock on the downtown Buffalo audience.  Please consider me for these two crucial categories by logging in at:

http://best.artvoice.com

This isn’t an ego thing.  I’ve never officially ‘run’ for either category before, but with the new book out, winning (or even being considered) would be a great help.  And finally, if you’d like to hear ‘Stop The Press!’, my interview with Geoff Kelly from Big Words Radio (way back in August of 2008), click over to:

http://www.mevio.com/episode/164954/episode-ix-stop-the-press

Have a great week and I’ll talk to you all soon,

Tom

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2 poems in AV this week, My View this weekend…

July 3, 2009
    I was thumbing through ArtVoice yesterday and was pleasantly surprised to see that they ran ‘token excuses for block’ and ‘listening to thelonius monk’ (from Breathing Room Volume I) in their ‘in the margins section’ in this week’s issue!  I still don’t have the slightest idea when the Joe Nickell interview is running (if ever) along with another piece I was assigned to write, spent money on and wrote LAST SUMMER, so it was nice to see a few poems that were recently accepted run so soon.  As for the other two, this has happened so many times with no clear indicator as to why the pieces haven’t run that I’ve lost any hope of them seeing print in AV.
    As for other publications, be on the lookout in the Buffalo News My View section this weekend (most likely on July 4th) for ‘Declaration’, a new essay I wrote about how Independence Day means a lot more to me than just fireworks and backyard barbeques.  I showed it to my buddy Brendan (the same one who recently co-hosted Episode 40) and he gave it the thumbs up, so odds are that it’s going to go over like gangbusters.  
     I hope you enjoy your 4th of July and don’t forget to grab a copy of ArtVoice and the Buffalo News this weekend!
    Tom Waters 
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Newsletter Feed: One Bigass Sit. Rep! Two new podcasts, two new articles and a whole bunch of other stuff!

November 7, 2008
Whew!
 
    You’d think that being jobless would resemble some manner of paradise involving sitting on my ass, eating government cheese and doing absolutely nothing, right?  Wrong.  In the last month, I’ve put more time into my career (writing) now that I don’t have gainful employment than ever before.  I can honestly say that I’m going through one of those quantum leaps marketing-wise.  The kind I haven’t enjoyed since way back in 2001.  Most of my days have been spent schmoozing on the phone until the battery dies out on my portable, writing any number of different personal projects and assignments, blogging and working on my sites as well as those of others, and spending what little time is left in the evening taking care of things around the house and spending time with my wife while shoehorning research into other side projects. 
    Yesterday alone, I got up at eight in the morning, got a good running start at life and didn’t stop until around midnight.  Aside from a ten minute nap, I didn’t stop.  When I get a full-time job, it’s going to be a bit of a relief, because I’ll have the sort of structure again where I can allow myself to rest once in a while.  Even after getting a molar pulled last week and suffering from related migraines, I felt guilty taking a portion of two days in the last seven to relax and recuperate.  With as many hours in the day as I have at my disposal, I still feel as if there isn’t enough time to accomplish everything I’ve been setting out to do. 
    Bret Easton Ellis told me during our interview a few years back that he treated writing like a job, ‘clocking in’ at 9 a.m., breaking for lunch and then banging out of work around 5 p.m.  I wish I could stop that early.  While tiring, I realize how crucial the time I’ve been given is.  I’ve decided that I’ll be taking this holiday season away from the horrific nightmare that is retail to actually enjoy spending time with my family (new and old) for the first time in 16 years in addition to working on the multitude of projects that are currently under construction or already in progress.  As you may or may not know, the next two essay collections (Slapstick & Superego as well as Merry Prankster) are complete.  I haven’t penned a shred of new poetry for two weeks, but Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick (the next poetry collection) is well over 140 pages without even including the freaky 50 page project I worked on in July (‘Rock/Pop Goes The Weasel’).  And then there are the freelancing assignments….
    My beloved editor at Gusto (Brian Connelly) is apparently moving me up to the big leagues in terms of freelancing and I couldn’t be more grateful.  In addition to the Club Watch bar reviews, he’ll be phasing me into their ‘Tell Me’ section at the very FRONT of Gusto (page two after the front page), conducting interviews with artists, writers and musicians on the cusp of making their big break inside as well as outside of Buffalo.  In regards to that, I’m going to humbly request that if any of you know of an artist (preferably a musician or band) with an upcoming gig in November or December who doesn’t have a firmly established fan base and deserves a wider audience, please email me at once with biographical as well as contact information.  My musical tastes tend to run about twenty or thirty years behind, so I’m woefully ignorant where current up-and-comers are concerned. 
    ArtVoice has also given me the green light on one of two projects I hatched during the idea-storm I was besieged with on my honeymoon at Silvercreek in early October.  With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I’ll be writing a piece about the hot spots to hit on the day before Thanksgiving, which happens to be the biggest party night of the year, eclipsing even New Year’s Eve and/or St. Patrick’s Day.  Again, if you happen to be ‘in the know’ on a bar, club or pub that blows the doors off business wise before the turkey hits the table, drop me a line.  My deadline window is one week, and I NEVER miss deadline.  It’s one of the qualities that’s reinforced my reputation as a serious writer in Buffalo and I’m certainly not going to call that into question now. 
    Yesterday, I had the pleasure and privelage (sp?) of recording an hour long show plus with my podcasting hero Uncle Hal from the Pissed Off World Of Uncle Hal show.  He was my first choice after being offered my own show at Think Twice and with zero notes, bullet points or questions, we managed to fill 70 minutes worth of the most offensive, irreverent comedy imaginable.  If Hal didn’t have an appointment, I seriously would have gone for two hour-long shows in a row.  I raced Episode XV out as soon as I could and my producer Richard Wicka at Think Twice uploaded it at once.  I strongly encourage you to listen at once over at:
 
http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/tom-waters/tom-waters.html
 
    I had some issues finding the new episode with more luck refreshing on Internet Explorer, so if you don’t see Episode XV (and the subsequent ‘Bonus Round’), click Refresh and cross your fingers.  I’m not sure if the site is experiencing technical difficulties, but I’ll be getting to the bottom of it over the weekend.
    In addition to the Big Words One Man Mobile Unit, the Monsters Of Verse are full steam ahead.  I returned to Clarence High School on Tuesday to teach my first workshop on the mechanics of poetry as well as writing in general to Ms. Foster’s Poetry Club while recording the event.  That episode (#3, for those keeping track) can be heard over at:
 
http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/monsters/monsters.html
    
    Once again, I experienced issues finding the newest episode of each show on AOL, so if you have Internet Explorer, you’re better off visiting the site from there. 
    And last night, the Monsters Of Verse launched their second official reading at Talking Leaves on Main St. in Amherst.  JR Finlayson, Carrie Gardner and myself kicked off the evening in alphabetical order with fifteen minute sets of amusing, insightful and philosophical poems that the crowd really seemed to respond well to.  Due to a small snafu regarding our start time (I forgot that we started at 6 p.m. instead of 7), we read for an additional forty minutes for the sake of entertaining those who showed at or shortly after 7 o’clock.  Twenty minutes of the second set were lost from the digital recorder, so if you weren’t there, you won’t get to hear it once the non-stop rock block of genius goes up online.  Depending on where my day (and my weekend) take me, Episode IV of the Monsters Of Verse should be up on the web by Sunday afternoon at the latest.  I’ll shoot you all an email when I’m positive that it’s up. 
    I’ve had a lot of time to think in the last four weeks.  One of the things I was turning around in my head yesterday was just how…overjoyed I am to have two like-minded creative maniacs to tour Buffalo and beyond with for the next six months.  With Jeff Finlayson and Carrie Gardner on deck, I honestly couldn’t ask for two other people I’d rather be out and about reading with.  Aside from sustaining, supporting and inspiring each other, they remain my dear friends and I’m not so much surprised with how well our collective dynamic is growing and improving so much as I’m pleased with the results.  Maybe we’ll hate each other come the beginning of May, but I doubt it.  Their talent, professionalism and their knockout prognostication skills continue to sustain and inform my burgeoning poetry skills.  At the risk of getting gooey, thank you, Jeff and Carrie.  Our events (and this project) are a feather in our cap that I’m very, very proud of.  I realize that putting up with my thousand event-related emails, phone calls and frequent tantrums is far from fun to deal with (just ask my wife), and your respective patience and professionalism is slowly molding me into a better team player.  You two are the best.
    Our next stop on the quest for global spoken word domination hits next Thursday (the 13th) at Spot Coffee on Delaware and Chippewa from 7-9 p.m.  Three days later, we’ll be at my favorite bar, Desiderio’s on Broadway on Sunday the 16th at 7 p.m. with special musical guest Shaky Stage.  Attendance so far has been admirable, but where the hell have you guys been?  Carrie has brought the majority of our audience and I’m embarrassed to say that most of the Big Words army have been missing in action.  PLEASE make the time to show your face for one (if not both) of the next two events.  I’m disappointed in the total lack of support in terms of these promotions where you’re all concerned, and it would be nice to see some if not all of you out during this new experiment in our collective creative careers.  While I realize that our performances are not at the top of your list, you’re missing out.  We’ve had a great big barrel of fun so far and it’s only going to get better as we continue to sharpen our skill set on the road.  Forget everything you know about poetry and give us a try.  I promise that we won’t let you down, and the after-parties thus far have been phenomenal.  I’ll leave it at that.
    And, on a final note, two new articles popped up online this week.  This month’s issue of Acid Logic is rolling out hot at 15 mph with ‘Sawed Off Sam Walton’, a strangely topical essay about spending half of my life in the hell known as retail.  Read all about it over at:
 
http://www.acidlogic.com/retail_sucks.htm
 
    And after a month long unintentional hiatus from comic book reviews, I put my nose back to the grind and started pumping a few new graphic novel critiques and sending them off to my new editor at Comics Bulletin.  You can catch them every Wednesday on www.comicsbulletin.com.  Top Shelf Comics has been kind enough to send me more than my share of advance copies, review copies and entire libraries for research purposes having to do with the radio show, and one of the books they sent me stood head and shoulders above anything I’ve read this year.  Despite what you might think, I actually do read comics that don’t have Batman in the title.  This previous Wednesday, I gave Nate Powell’s Swallow Me Whole the credit it truly deserved.  Check that review out over at:
 
http://www.comicsbulletin.com/reviews/
 
    You may have to scroll down a tad as my show-notes inform me that it is no longer Wednesday and there isn’t a direct link to each review.  Since the Swallow Me Whole review, I’ve been hard at work building up a stockpile of other new reviews so that there aren’t any gaps on that site.  I’m neurotic about taking advantage of each and every site and publication I write for and I hate to be tardy to the party with any of them unless it’s absolutely unavoidable.  Writing comic reviews is a labor of love and it doesn’t even feel like work to fire off 5 or 600 words about every book I shovel into my brain.  Excelsior!
    That should be all the news that’s fit to print for the time being.  Thanks are in order to: JR Finlayson, Carrie Gardner, Richard Wicka, Greg Sterlace (farewell and good luck, new friend!), Jonathan at Talking Leaves, Josh Smith, Uncle Hal, Wil Forbis, Thom Young and last but not least, my wife.  Lindsay has had to endure hell and back and back around again in the last four months.  This wrongful termination from Gamestop was another curveball that we didn’t deserve or anticipate.  She’s a real trooper, and without her love, support and reliability, I’d be well past the point of sanity by now.  I love you, chipmunk! 
    Oof.  One final word.  Now that Hal has popped onto my show, I’ll be doing a walk-on over on his.  We’ll be recording Episode 61 (or is it 62?) next week and you know I’ll give you the head’s up once it’s online.  The two of us are the politically correct equivalent of a keg full of dynamite strapped to a minivan doused in nitroglycerin whenever we get near a microphone.  The Big Words episode was brutal, but now that we’re back in the groove, our show on his site will be worse.  You have been officially warned.  Have a great weekend,

 
Tom Waters
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British Journalists Are Brutal

October 22, 2008

After getting about forty percent of what I told him right, missing the initial deadline and then discombobulating another forty percent, Brit import (writing for UB Spectrum) Joe Stevens delivered a fairly decent profile on yours truly.  As I’ve said, most of it is bullshit.  As a rule going forward, I guess I won’t buy most of the drinks for the people interviewing me.  A few points:

1. I NEVER wrote for UB Spectrum.  I wrote one review for Generations back in the ’90s regarding the Pet Shop Boy’s ‘Alternative’ double disc set.

2. I NEVER got fired from the Buffalo State Record (the college paper that I wrote for for almost three years).  They paid me for a year, decided to stop paying all their writers, I wrote an article about same (telling the whole campus to go fuck themselves) and my editor (Margeret Coghlan) stuck her neck out to get in.  The article (or column) essentially told the entire staff that I quit.  I was never fired.  Look it up.

3.  I NEVER said that Breathing Room Vol. I OR II. was a big ‘fuck you’ to my readers.  I equated the complete 180 in style to Lou Reed’s music in the ’70s.  He had a huge hit album and then turned tack with something completely out of left field. 

     They say that any press is good press.  I’ll agree with that.  I’ll also continue to say that Joe (with all his integrity) didn’t take notes of any kind for the first hour or two that we drank at the bar.  Then he hit on Carrie Gardner after I left, wondering and postulating as to why she stuck around for so long.  I suffered some slings and arrows in my absence for not talking at length about myself.  Well fuck me for being the one person in artistic endeavors who would rather not expound on their own ‘artistic process’ or run off at the mouth as to their own ‘creative genius’.  I’m slightly dissappointed with this year’s crop, UB.

     I’ve always admired UB.  I’ve always thought that they had a higher class of writer as opposed to my Alma Mater at Buffalo State.  I’m still pleased with the review (aside from the fact that most of it is bullshit).  I’m offended that Joe would postulate (or assume) that I was putting on some sort of show or act for the interview.  I went into the bar at the Marriott without pretense, just looking to have a friendly conversation with a person I assumed was decent.  Joe got a comp copy of the book (as most media outlets in Buffalo get, out of my own pocket, no less), more than a few free drinks out of me and what I thought was a decent back and forth.  Apparently, it’s my fault that he waited an hour or two to start asking questions.

     I’ll leave it at that.  I’ve never considered myself a genuine journalist, but after four or five years of conducting interviews for ArtVoice, Buffalo Spree and other local and national publications, I’ve done better justice to my subjects than him and I’ve actually recorded their conversations (putting serious man hours into transcribing them afterward) instead of jotting down a few bullet points once I’ve had a good buzz on) and then retracing my steps after a few freebies.  The new school has failed.  Any press, though, as they say, is good press.  Read all about it (a week after it was promised) at:

http://www.subboard.com/generation/articles/122452811433779.asp

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Monday Big Words Update! Week 95 on stands, Home Stretch!

September 23, 2008

     By this time next week, I won’t be a me anymore.  Legally, I’ll be a we.  In five days (and after almost four years), Lindsay and I are getting married this Saturday.  I want to thank everyone in advance for their generosity, their time and their friendship (whether blood related or otherwise).  The outpouring of help leading up to this wedding has been unexpected and is one of the few things that’s kept both of us from losing it altogther.  ‘Nuff said on that. 

     Now on to more good news: The first 20 copies of Breathing Room Volume I have sold out in a record six days.  I’ve got more on re-order and I’m hoping I’ll have them by Wednesday so that I can give away a comp copy to the boys from UB Generations, who will be interviewing me this Wednesday at a remote location in Amherst that I’ll be podcasting from.  What amazes me so far is that EVERY single person has read almost the entire book in one sitting and tells me that it’s the best book I’ve ever written.  It would be Ironic with a capital I if a book written as an homage to a dying art form actually made me financially independant as a writer once and forever.  All the capital from this point out is going right back into Volume I and Volume II and then after that it’s getting rolled into Slapstick & Superego, my final Print On Demand book with Authorhouse, which will be coming out in May. 

     Since Lindsay and I will be honeymooning in glorious Myrtle Beach next week, this will be my last Monday update for two weeks.  I’m going to try and take a digital recorder down with me for one podcast, but we’ll see what happens.  When I get back, I’ve got work, Monsters Of Verse related promotions and merchandising, radio interviews, public appearances and speaking engagements and oh, yeah, there’s my 33rd birthday to deal with at the end of October.   It’s going to be very busy for the better part of this year as well as fiscal year 2009.  This is a good thing.  As long as I’m busy, I don’t have an opportunity to allow myself to get depressed. 

     So far, ArtVoice, Buffalo Spree and both UB papers are on board for book reviews, interviews or profiles on Breathing Room by November.  I’ve been working really hard on getting the Buffalo News to commit, but I wouldn’t put that in the bank just yet.  After giving them a free copy of every book I’ve ever written and paying the postage (going all the way back to Soup To Nuts), I’ve gotten a one sentence review on ONE book.  Great.  After two years of giving them my soul, I really, really hope that they’ll take care of me on these two books.  We’ll see.

     And I have no idea which essay is running in Night Life this week.  With the computer issue earlier on, my ‘Sent’ mail is still spotty, so it’ll be a surprise to all of us as to which Big Words column runs.  I’ve got to send out all my columns for next month today, so I’m leaving you with that.   If you haven’t done so already, get off your ass and order Breathing Room Volume I: Free Verse.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised.  I can track individual orders too, so don’t think I can’t tell how many copies are going out the door.  Order a print copy or (I make more money on these and they’re cheaper) download a pdf copy to your computer instantaneously at:

http://www.lulu.com/content/2962892

     Not to play the guilt card, but as a newly married couple, we’ve got a house and children to start saving for.  Buy the book, read the book and enjoy it.  Do it.  NOW! 

     Seeya in two weeks, Monday Updaters!

Tom Waters

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Saturday Update (in lieu of Monday): ‘She Packed My Bags Last Night Pre-Flight’

September 7, 2008

     I’ll be flying out at ten am tomorrow morning to sunny and warm Las Vegas Nevada to stay at the Mandalay Bay Casino and Resort Hotel at the expense of my company for our yearly convention, so needless to say, I won’t be around this Monday for my usual update.  I’ll be back in town on Thursday, September 11th to resume business as normal.

     The bad news for next week is that I’ve been scooped at ArtVoice.  After taking a pitch from Geoff Kelly (and doing the grunt work and the leg work), my assignment has been bumped in favor of Reginald Dwight, a freelancer who’s worked with AV over the years.  Geoff at least had the good manners to email me about it, but I’m more than a bit miffed that I put the time in on the piece with no pay only to find that another so-called journalist will be swooping down on the spoils.  Just when I thought I was back in ArtVoice’s good graces, they shelved another completed review of mine and went with one of their boys.  As a freelancer, I’ve heard of Dwight in Buffalo circles before, and I’ll say this: Stay off my turf.  If you’ve heard of me, Dwight, you know damn well that I’ll fix your wagon if you don’t mind your own business.  I won’t forget this any time soon.  ‘Nuff said on that front. 

     As for Night Life business, the second part of ‘The Divine Pop Comedy’ (an excerpt from my 30 page critique on the discography of Elton John) will be running this Monday. 

     On the Think Twice radio front, there have been no new episodes up online since Episode 9.  Richard Wicka was kind enough to loan me his Roland digital recorder for my trip, so you can count on me recording at least two shows while I’m spending five days and six nights in Sin City.  Vegas is bad news for a guy like me, so I’ll make sure to share at least some of the sordid play by play with my listeners. 

     And the proof for Breathing Room Volume I: Free Verse was emailed via attachment to me yesterday morning and it looks phenomenal.  My new layout liason Nick Peterson did a more than perfect job on the manuscript, which was surreptitiously uploaded to the Lulu sight this evening.  The first twenty copies are on their way via UPS overnight mail and I will have them available for sale on Thursday the 11th.  If you want a copy from the first batch, speak now or forever hold your peace.  Volume II will be available (as promised) by the beginning of October and both volumes will be ready for purchase in time for the launch event at the Center For Inquiry on October, 25th. 

That should be everything for now.  Enjoy the cold weather, suckers!  Real writers like me (not Reginald Dwight) will be out slinging down singapore slings in the belly of the beast out in 110 degree Las Vegas until the tail end of next week!  Have fun (because I certainly will be),

Tom Waters   

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Sunday Newsletter Update: Radio Episodes 8.5 & 9 Up!

August 31, 2008

 

Yep,
    I wanted to write sooner.  I wanted to get the last episode up sooner, but it wasn’t meant to be.  Rich (my producer) had to go in for some medical tests and everything came up rosy.  If there’s one thing the two of us have in common, it’s our love for a holistic lifestyle.  Right.
    Life has just been insanely busy lately.  I’ve been wanting to write more comic reviews, but I haven’t had time.  A week and a half ago, I had a Gusto assignment at Hennessey’s Pub out in Alden.  Last Saturday was my bachelor party, which I decided to make a podcast out of.  That turned into episode 8.5 (since I spent more time partying than recording, it was only a half an hour).  On Sunday (amidst a shit storm of aggravation), I wrote three poems.  Then I got lost somewhere on the 279 and ended up sleeping in my car.  This is why I hate large highways. 
    On Monday (after explaining to my wife, her parents and a few other people that the ‘reports of my death were greatly exaggerated’), I met up with ArtVoice Managing Editor Geoff Kelly at Mulligan’s Brick Bar downtown to record on location.  We had a knockout show and for some reason on a Monday afternoon at a bar on Allen there were six people who were unfamiliar with the term ‘inside voices’.  The podcast turned out great regardless. 
    Tuesday was my night at Desi’s.  On Wednesday, I returned to Buff State to chime in and sit in to enjoy Lisa Forrest’s Rooftop Poetry Club get together.  It was therapy that was well needed.  Weds. night I had a quiet night in with the wife.  That was well needed too.
    Thursday I was at work all day for the most part.  Friday was more work and another quiet night in with the wife. 
    Yesterday I had an assignment for ArtVoice that I had to be vague about.  I’ll just say that if you’re a true Elton John fan, you might be familiar with a certain reverse psuedonym that’s going to be popping up soon in their pages. 
    Check out the podcasts, though.  You can find both over at:
 
http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/tom-waters/tom-waters.html
 
Episode 8.5 Tag Line
 
Tom commemorates his bachelor party with the drunkest podcast yet, strange boobs in the face, Mighty Taco, and projectile vomiting.
 
Episode 9 Tag Line:    
    
Tom sits down and pounds out the magic with Buffalo Wonder Boy and ArtVoice’s Managing Editor in Chief Geoff Kelly. Mayhem ensues, stout is purchased on Jamie Moses’ corporate credit card.card.
 
    The two Breathing Room poetry books STILL aren’t done.  I am now a month over my personal deadline for them and the first volume had better be finished come next week or somebody is going to be in hot water.  My layout person is still working on them and I don’t understand how the pdf can be so difficult when I knocked out Clean Up After Me, I’m Irish in a weekend.  I guess we’ll see what next week brings.  Volume I should be ready for order by the second week of September.  I’ll be in Las Vegas that week for work. 
    I think that’s just about everything.  I’m about three weeks away from my wedding and the majority of my immediate families (and friends, for that matter) hate my guts or think I’ve lost my mind altogether or both.  These things will happen.  In September, the Buffalo News will be running an essay I wrote about my new in-laws in their ‘My View’ section.  That makes my second accepted submission for the year and they allow three per person, so I’ll have to whip something else up as soon as ‘Our People’ runs.   
     Things are really starting to come together career-wise.  Word of mouth on something or other (or perhaps ALL of it) is hitting the ground running and I’d like to think that the money should be around the corner.  Geoff Kelly and I were talking about career goals, aspirations and objectives on Monday and I told him my conclusion was that ultimately, I wanted to keep busy.  Writing is a compulsive therapy for me now.  It’s something I’m going to do no matter what.  I’m knocking on wood here, because every time I say something like that, I block up for eight to twelve months.  There’s still too much to be done.  And I don’t give a shit about recognition anymore, inclusion, or critical fanfare.  I want to make money.  I want to provide for my new three unit family.  I want to be able to leave my job in two to five years so that I can do this full time.  I’m ready.  The steps are in place.  All I have to do now is keep at it.
    I’ll drop you a line again when I have a chance.  Take care of yourselves, Big Words readers.  Seeya on the flip side.
 
    Tom Waters
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Rooftop Poetry Club Aftermath/Hellblazer: Joyride Review Up on Comics Bulletin

August 28, 2008

Long day…

Got up at four am and kept going.  Worked for quite a bit and then embarked on a trip to Buffalo State (my alma mater) to see Lisa Forrest and throw my hat in the ring for the Rooftop Poetry Club open reading.  I was going to make a podcast out of it (which I was on the fence about doing), but Lisa decided not to make it an official event and restricted podcasting and/or professional photography.  We had a phenomenal time in spite of the media coverage (or perhaps because of the lack of it).

     I read three poems and the other six or seven people out of twelve read two or three as well.  It was just good therapy.  I’m not good with the sad stuff or the romantic stuff, but I read it anyway and it went well.  At the close of the event at the E.H. Butler Library, Lisa announced that there wouldn’t be another open reading for poets until November.  Doesn’t that just figure that once I get back on the horse, Buff State is stupid enough to start phasing out one of the best ideas they’ve had in a century.  There ought to be a petition to keep it monthly.  I’m talking to you, Just Buffalo.  If it’s a matter of funding, someone should throw some money Lisa’s way.  It’s a brilliant concept with a large umbrella of talented writers and it would be a genuine shame to see such a wonderful venue go under because of funding, grants, exposure and so on and so forth.  This isn’t my fight, so I’m begging anyone else to take up the cause.  Good luck.  I started a battle with Buff State over their decision to pull funding for freelance writers at The Buffalo State Record when I went to school there back in 1995-1998 and lost that battle.  As a result, I left campus and became a professional writer, so perhaps everything does work out in the end.  Yet I digress…

     In other news, one of my new editors (Thom Young at Comics Bulletin online) and I have come to the decision that we’re going to run the graphic novel reviews every Wednesday up online.  If you like John Constantine: Hellblazer, then this is your week.  I’ve got a review up right this instant for Andy Diggle’s phenomenal new vision/reboot/horrifying entrance into the series with ‘Hellblazer: Joyride’.  Check it out by clicking over to:

http://www.comicsbulletin.com/reviews/121986238229540.htm

-And then rush out to your nearest graphic novel retailer (preferably Don’s Atomic Comics in Depew) and buy the goddamned book! 

That’s all I’ve got for today.  Long live Vertigo.  And would somebody for the love of god rescue the Rooftop Poetry Club.  I’m looking squarely at you, Just Buffalo Literary Center.  Food for thought.  There are so few decent open readings in this town and Lisa Forrest’s brainchild on the campus of Buffalo State is one of them.  Somebody save them.  That’s all I’ve got for today.

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Monday Update On Weds./Week 92 on stands/Fall Of Rome…

August 27, 2008

Now most of you know what a neurotic obsessive I am with my web site(s).  So the fact that my computer was demolished thanks to some ambitious hacker with a Trojan Worm this previous Friday caused me a great deal of grief.  For the second time this year, I had to have my computer restored to its default settings so that I could get back on track.  I’m very fortunate in that my future brother in law is a computer wunderkind, so he had it back up and running in a day and a half….

     The other good news is that Rich (my producer at Think Twice Radio) scored me a 15 Gig Ipod for 42 dollars.  So now I get to learn how to upload my 600 CDs (mostly Elton and Dylan) onto this thing.  It’s third generation, but what are you gonna do?

     Over the weekend, I recorded 12 and a half minutes of my bachelor party, read my opening intro and recorded a five minute ‘Question’ segment.  Somehow this worked out to be about a half an hour Big Words Radio Show (episode 8.5).  Check that out over at:

www.thinktwiceradio.com

     I’d give you a direct link to my feed on Think Twice, but the net still isn’t cooperating fully.  I’ll re-edit later on…

     I also recorded episode 9 on Monday at Mulligan’s Brick Bar with Geoff Kelly (managing editor at ArtVoice).  It was a great show, but my producer has been tied up with work obligations, so to the best of my knowledge, it’s not up yet.  It should be by week’s end, so I’ll get back to you as soon as it is.

     This weekend was hell and back and back around again.  I’m still coping with the emotional and psychic fallout.  I really wish that anyone who’s ‘concerned’ about my ‘erratic behavior’ and feels that i should ‘slow down’ could walk a mile in my shoes this summer.  A less durable person would have taken their own life by now or a whole bunch of other people’s and then their own by about mid July.  Four of my friends have had complete meltdowns, the world is crashing down around my ears and I’ve written two entire books, launched a radio show and freelanced my ass off on top of a forty hour plus weekly job.  So yeah, I’m going to be a little erratic.  Deal with it. 

     Five years from now, I’ll look back and see the upswing.  I’ll look on this time as the sheer amount of career leapfrogging I’ve been doing as a writer.  So I would do it again a million times.  When I can quit my day job and do the radio thing or the writing thing full time, things will be a lot easier.  I’m not the praying kind, but if you are, say one for me.  I’ve put my time in.  I’ve been writing since I was 13 and I’ve been on the radio for seven years in one form or another, so it would be really nice to make $40,000 to start to do what I love.  I’ll get there, but it would be nice to get there faster.  It infuriates me to think that there are so many talentless clowns who fell ass backwards into union jobs that I’ve worked my ass off to get to.  It’ll happen, but it really needs to happen sooner rather than later before I snap completely or lose everyone and everything I care about. 

     But I digress.  Week 92 of Night Life is on stands with a Big Words ‘uncut’ column of ‘Love Letter To Lancaster’.  I wanted to run it in August, but I didn’t get around to it.  Later today, I’ll be dropping in on Lisa Forrest’s Rooftop Poetry Club at Buffalo State, my old haunting ground.  Rooftop and the Center For Inquiry remain my two favorite poetry reading venues.  I’m going to try and record the reading for Think Twice, but we’ll see what happens. 

     ArtVoice has also decided to run my graphic novel reviews.  And they’ve given me the green light to do three Pro-Buffalo PD interviews.  At least one writer in this goddamned town should be an ultra conservative, so if it’s gotta be me, so be it.  It’s early in the morning, so I’ll leave you with that.  Four days without the web or a computer has left me behind the eight ball, so I’ve got other things to do. 

     Listen to the radio show.  Grab a copy of Night Life.  We can branch out from there.  Peace out,

Tom Waters

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Monday Big Words Update: Stop The Press, I Wanna Get Off!

August 5, 2008

     If I had a request to pass along to the Fates, it would be that they didn’t let all the important things happen in the last week of each month this summer.  This makes twice now that I’ve had to phone in to Night Life magazine and essentially tell them to ‘Stop The Press!’  With a four rant block of essays already in place, I changed tack in light of last week’s events and decided to publish the Buffalo Rising campaign ala Lenny Bruce by serializing the ordeal.  Every email, every column and every late breaking event will be disseminated in a two or three part column series IN print in Night Life magazine under the auspicious title of ‘Alia Iacta Est’ (or, for those of you familiar with your Latin, ‘The Die Is Cast’. 

     There were a lot of updates I wanted to write over the weekend, but Linds and I skipped town and set sail for Lake Erie.  Some time late on Friday, I finally (after many hits, misses and total mistakes for the notion) came up with a lasting title for Essay Book Six (technically Book 9.  Are you ready for it?  Maybe we should get a drum roll going because the title is unbelievably perfect for the content.

-Drum Roll Please

First of all, you’re all (most of you) familiar with the next Rant Book Title, Slapstick & Superego.  We’ve got that one covered at least.  I’m looking at May or June of next year depending on how long the Breathing Room promotions will spill over.   But the book after that, the rant collection that’s clocking in around 107 pages thus far, is:

-Drum Roll, Please!

Merry Prankster

     I agonize over the naming of things.  This title knocks my socks off, though.  It’s an obscure reference to the ’60s, The Tarot, my lifestyle, the material and my way of life.  It works.  If it turns out that someone else has used that handle, I’m still using it.  It’s perfect, it has a nice ring to it, and I can’t think of Rant Book Six as anything other than.

     I spoke with a lot of Buffalo Industry Veterans today regarding the Buffalo Rising fiasco and they’ve all given me some sagely advice.  Whether I follow it is irrelevant, but it was nice to get their opinions.  People who have been toiling away in the business of newspapers for over a decade (and in some cases, two or three).  In many cases, this experience has opened (or re-opened) a lot of doors for me into new endeavors with old friends and new alike.  A few interviews will be finding their way into the pages of Buffalo Spree, a slick magazine publication with nationwide circulation that Elena was blinded with rage over being unable to trump.  A few others still will be finding a home with ArtVoice after Editor in Chief Geoff Kelly and I manage to trade some old journalistic muckracking anecdotes over a stout or two and come to agreement on the Buffalo Police series.  And I’m going to find a way to work something out with WNY Media, as I think they deserve a few fresh pieces from me after sticking their necks out along with me last week when no one else would.  That takes guts.

     Nicholas Peterson has joined the brigade with myself and Carrie Gardner in putting the finishing polish on both Breathing Room manuscripts.  He’s a wiz on formatting, desktop publishing and layout and he’s been kind enough to volunteer his efforts on rescuing the headers, footers, fonts and formatting headaches that have just about gotten the best of me.  I’ve already begun work on a THIRD volume of poetry (shooting for 3-400 pages for the next tome) entitled Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick which, if I’m lucky, will not be complete for another two years or so with all of the other plates spinning in the air. 

     RD Pohl didn’t see fit to accept any of my submissions for this month’s installment of the Poetry Page in the Buffalo News.  Florine still hasn’t run ‘token excuses for block’, which is understandable as they only seem to run poems once in a blue moon in the ‘In The Margins’ section of ArtVoice.  ‘poem for Lindsay’ continues to garner decent votes on poetry.com, but I’m going to need more credibility for certain parties with the poems if I’m going to move some copies.  It’ll all fall into place over the next three or four months.

     I’m lining up some phenomenal concerts/readings/performances that center again around the ‘Monsters Of Verse’ concept.  Three poets, one location, and the occassional musical guest between sets.  Carrie Gardner, Jeff Finlayson and myself will be headlining a Screening Room reading in mid-December that pays.  Carrie and myself will be featured as readers at the Center For Inquiry as part of Just Buffalo’s ‘Literary Cafe’ readings hosted by the ever-entertaining Perry Nicholas.  All signs point to yes for a launch-window (late October) trifecta reading at Talking Leaves on Main St near UB North.  And discussions are being bandied about regarding doing the official launch at the Market Arcade Film and Arts Center on Main St. downtown.  Most of these events are paying and the majority of them are going to come to pass.  The ‘Monsters Of Verse’ concert concept just feels like more of a downtown Buffalo venue, so I’ll be focusing most of my efforts in and around Buffalo, where poetry seems to thrive in multiple pockets and genres.  Buffalo Spree has even informed me that they’re willing to jump in ahead of the curve and do an Artist Profile and me, which is tremendously flattering. 

     After two months of typing furiously, my right hand is suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome.  I’m afraid I’ll be taking a break from writing (and posting) for the majority of the week so that I don’t put any undue strain on the nerve and tendon clusters in my forearm.  I will, however, be running some emails that a certain Informant on Buffalo Rising has been supplying me with intel from mid-week.  The new Big Words radio show wraps this Wednesday night and Uncle Hal and I are STILL trying to find a good time window to do the 60th episode together.  We’ll hammer something out.  That’s a lot of ground covered.  Talk to you soon,

Tom Waters

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Rock Bottom Club Watch Hits Gusto, or: Hare-Brained Today/Gone Tomorrow

August 1, 2008

After two months of one-review only coverage, my review for Rock Bottom (on Transit Rd. in Amherst) starts off August with a bang.  And with the wedding just around the corner, any extra revenue is truly appreciated.  In the wake of the Buffalo Rising all out cage match, it’s a big plus to get some extra credibility.  Some of us actually get paid to write, and the smarter writers have editors with a high level of professionalism who do indeed edit our work (which is an editor’s job, if I’m not mistaken) instead of telling us to edit it.  I was just talking to Deanna Russo (one of the frontrunners at Buffalo.com’s YourHub) about life, the universe and everything on Wednesday and we agreed that despite what ill everyone may have to say about the Buffalo News (most of them losing competitors), I’ve never had any problems with them.  Their staff and their writers have always had a level of diplomacy and professionalism that is unparralleled in Buffalo and I truly, truly appreciate it.  After working closely with Brian Connelly (the editor for Club Watch) for well over eighteen months now, I don’t think I could ask for a better mentor. 

     And meanwhile, out and about, I continue to tell every living soul about what a reprehensible piece of shit Elena Buscarino is.  Apparently she’s the lead singer in a big band, so if you see her out, feel free to throw some rotten produce in the vicinity of her fat mouth.  A ball gag would serve better, but what’s a fella to do?  The old saw goes that when a customer has a poor experience, he’ll tell ten people.  I’m ahead of the curve on that one.  If I have a poor experience, I just won’t be capable of ending my infinite ire regarding the situation.  You made a very large mistake, BRO.  I want Elena’s job by week’s end, her sanity by the end of August, and the paper to fold by New Year’s of 2009. 

     It would most likely be the best thing in the world if ArtVoice would buy them out (like they did with Blue Dog Press in the yesteryear of 2002) and sink the ship to avoid any media confusion.  And say what you will about ArtVoice, but they are an institution, and they march to the beat of their own drummer instead of kow-towing to the public opinion of a small group of simpletons.  Jamie Moses (publisher) and Geoff Kelly (managing editor) are men of conviction, and they follow their passions wherever they happen to carry them.  AV has vision, drive and intensity, and they make a brilliant bookend to everything that is good and true about Buffalo print.

     I tried to contact Geoff about all of this business this week by phone and via email, but to no avail.  Smart odds would bet that AV is going to sit this one out.  I have yet to speak with Elizabeth Licata (whom Elena Buscarino has been less than complimentary regarding), but I’m interested to see if Buffalo Spree magazine would take the hook on my interviews with Kevin McCarthy, Michael Bly and Bob ‘Ernie’ Insana.  I’m also wondering if ArtVoice will bite before Buffalo Spree.  Perhaps my reputation is shot, but I stopped caring about that a long time ago.  As long as I’ve got the Buffalo News, Night Life and my readership on my side, I could truly and honestly care less. 

     Early response to the radio show has been overwhelmingly positive.  Next Wednesday, I’ll be heading into the studio with Harvey and Eisner Award winning comic book artist/writer Alex Robinson.  There will not be a Buffalo angle.  We’re not so insecure that it’s warranted.  Buffalo does fine on it’s own.  It has enough writers who waste their careers and their creative efforts licking Buffalo’s ass like a lollipop that I’d rather not throw mine away on something so timely and trifling.  The thing about local writing is that it’s here today, gone tomorrow.  After the day, you can wrap a fish in it, toss it in the trash or use it as a recepticle for parrot shit.  Write  a good national interview or universal piece about the foibles of the human struggle, though, and you can pimp that feature out for a lifetime.  This is one thing that a lot of respected journalists (and established hacks) will never get.  Yeah, I’m talking about you again, Elena.  I’m not done with you by a long shot.

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