Attack of the Photo Blog: BizarroCon 2012 Edition!

BizarroCon is an annual event held just outside Portland Oregon. Bizarros travel from all over the place to do workshops, attend readings and performances, meet, drink Rose O’Keefe’s amazing beer, talk shop and connect. This year we not only had people  from all over the country, but from Spain, Australia and England. We’re going international, bitch!

It’s a beautiful experience.
2012 was my third year in attendance and the sense of community never ceases to amaze and overwhelm me. The deep gratitude for everyone being a part of it resonates through the internet as soon as we all return home.

My first year: I was nervous and excited.
Completely blown away by a talented and beautiful community of artists, my heart swelled, exploded, reassembled and wanted nothing more than to be a part of it.

My second year: Terrified in the best possible way.
Published under NBAS for a year “trial”. Excited, proud, honored, determined.

My third year: Beyond grateful.
Signed to Eraserhead Press for a three year contract. Officially part of Eraserhead Press. Heart is again swollen with joy.

That’s right. For all of you who have been wondering how my NBAS trial went: I GOT IT!
EHP is signing me to a THREE YEAR CONTRACT!

I am still in shock.

First off, thank you.
Thank you to anyone who bought a copy (or copies) of Trashland A Go-Go, wrote a review, shared a link, told a friend and supported me in this endeavor. My sales were so much better than I could have dreamed. It means so VERY much to me.
Thank you to everyone at EHP for welcoming me.
Thank you to my fellow NBAS 2011- 2012 authors who were the best possible group to work with.Especially Spike Marlowe for her ridiculously thoughtful gift this weekend <3  I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive and loving group to work with. I look forward to working with them for years to come.

Extra warm and fuzzy thank you to Kevin Shamel for all his hard work, being there, and just believing in me in general. His faith in me was a huge motivation to me over the last year.

I committed  the last year of my life to Trashland, the NBAS, and Bizarro as a whole and it paid off in the most fan-fucking-tastic way.
In 2006 my brother Kevin lent me copies of Teeth and Tongue Landscape and Angeldust Apocalypse. I was an instant fan. I never dreamed that I would get to be PART of this. And now I am and I couldn’t possibly be any fucking happier.

When I sat down in the very last row of seats on my flight home from Portland, I stared  out the window worrying about the weather because I HATE flying, and suddenly it hit me. I have a contract. They signed me. They want ME. I get to be a part of this.
I’ll spare you the weepy details. Let’s just say I was really glad I was sitting alone at the very back of the plane.

It’s very exciting, but it also means that I have a lot of work to do.
I can’t wait!

The rest of the weekend was a blast as always. I did the High Concept Workshop run by Jeff Burk on Friday morning and my pitch was “purchased” the most with Bizarro Currency- some sweet dinosaur trading cards.

Then it was off to the Writing for a Cult Audience workshop with Carlton Mellick III. I now belong to a publisher that hands out booklets like this:

The advice, in case you were wondering, is totally awesome and shit.
I also belong to a publisher that wants all of it’s authors to succeed. A publisher who believes in publishing authors, not books. What does that mean? It means they care about the author. It means they want to nurture that talent and brand. It means they are exactly where I want to be.

The rest of the weekend we had panel discussions, readings, art, dinners and the ULTIMATE Ultimate Bizarro Showdown! The Showdown is usually hosted by Jeremy Robert Johnson, but this year we were graced with the hosting talents of Famous Author Mykle Hansen. That man is a fucking delight. Every time Mykle opens his mouth I love him a little more.

Now there is nothing left to do but wait for next year and blow up Kevin’s inbox with story pitches.

This is also the Winter of the Desk. Three years in a row I have listened to authors on panel talk about how important it is to have a space to work in. Hell, I bought, read, and adored A Room of One’s Own. I should have gotten it a while ago. But I always had the excuse of “not having space”. Well, not a goddamn thing is being done with the giant box of dvds between my dresser and my overstuffed bookcase. Time to get my head back on straight. It’s been a really rough couple of months with working two jobs, the passing of my mother and working toward this contract. This weekend was exactly what I needed. I feel recharged, and I know I am not the only attendee who feels that way. Because it’s part of what we do there.

I could go on for days about every little thing, and how Wonderland Award Winning Author Laura Lee Bahr is the most fun roommate in the entire fucking world, even if she makes you cry when she wins things she very much deserves and drinks atrocious beverage concoctions. Then this blog would never end, so I’ll leave you with a photo gallery and a whole mess of captions.
Thanks again to everyone who made this event what it is. It’s meant a lot to me over the last few years, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.
360 DAYS ‘TIL BIZARROCON!

click images to enlarge


 

Several images were poached from C. V. Hunt and Tiffany Pedro Tirado. Thanks ladies!

Six Days, Eighteen Days, ALL the Days.

October 22nd  was the 1 year anniversary of the publication of my first novella, Trashland A Go-Go.  That’s pretty damn exciting. WHAT a year it’s been!
It’s been full of excitement and, more recently, some sadness. But as my year long trial with the New Bizarro Author Series comes to a close, I can’t help but be excited.

In 18 days I will be reunited with my fellow NBASers at the 5th annual BizarroCon and we will find out what the next year holds for us. THAT is even more exciting! I’m keeping all of my appendages crossed in anticipation.

We entered into this series, all vying for a contract with Eraserhead Press and the process has been incredible. I got to have my first novella published, which seems to have been pretty well received. I got to read multiple reviews of my work and see what other people drew from my words, which was a REALLY interesting experience.  I gained many friends and, what I feel, is a second family.

Although the eight NBAS authors are all technically competing for contracts, there was virtually ZERO rivalry. We swapped sources, reviews, interviews and were generally a support system for each other over the course of the year. As corny as it may sound, the connection that formed between us was undeniable. I hope it is this way for all the previous NBAS authors, as well as those to come.

There are only SIX days left to purchase our books to have them count toward our sales goals. Help out some aspiring authors and pick up a few new books today! Click HERE to purchase any/all of the 2011 New Bizarro Author Series releases. I’d love for all of us to succeed.
If the thought of making EIGHT dreams come true isn’t enticing enough for you, all NBAS 2011 releases are available under the 4 for the price of 3 deal! Cha-CHING!

Attack of the Photo Blog: Hyaena Weekend!

This past weekend I was invited to read at the Hyaena Gallery in sunny Burbank California with Andrew Goldfarb, Cody Goodfellow, Mark Leventhal, Laura Lee Bahr and fellow NBAS-ers Michael Allen Rose and Spike Marlowe.

“Invited” is a term I use loosely. Really, I was invited to the event by Michael Allen Rose and had planned on going just to visit with some of my Bizarro friends, watch them read and perform and have a great time before going back home.
About a week before the event I received an email with the reading schedule. I was listed as opener. SURPRISE! And here I thought I was just going to be in the audience.

WRONG!

I had all these excuses, like: “I can’t afford a hotel” and “I can’t afford a plane ticket” and “I’m too much of a giant pussy to read to a group of people.”

Laura  Lee Bahr solved one of them when she opened her home to me (and several other Bizarros) and offered to let me stay there for the weekend. Andrew Goldfarb solved another when he said that, since he lives in the Bay Area but was on tour, if I could get to Los Angeles he could bring me back home. Spike Marlowe said I could catch a ride down with her superhero self.  Two of my friends, Jezra and Kristel, gave me money for expenses.

It would have been immensely stupid to refuse. Everything but the antidote to being a giant pussy was handed to me. Not on a silver platter, but rather in two cleverly marked envelopes.

“Food, Tampons, Postcard/ Hooker and Blow”

I had to suck it up. I was slotted to read for 10 minutes. I just had to get through 10 minutes entertaining people and then I would have, as Vince Kramer says, “The most fun EVER!”

My friend Michael Kazepis spent a lot of time helping me sort through the mess and copy edit, as I strung together a series of vignettes that I have been working on about customers who come into the adult/head shop where I work. This seemed like a good idea to me. When I post about them on Facebook they are the most commented and “liked” of my statuses, which leads me to believe that people enjoy hearing about me dealing with perverts. Which kind of makes you guys jerks.

The idea is that I would get to stand up in front of a room full of people and put some weirdos on blast. That ended up making me more comfortable than a “proper” reading.

We read at the Hyaena Gallery in Burbank California and I can’t stress to you enough how incredible their collection is. It’s all lovely horror art and I NEED every single piece in that place. Here are some stolen photos of amazing art:



Check them out if you’re in the area. ABSOLUTELY worth it.

I think Andrew Goldfarb asked me about five times if I was ready to go on. Each time I responded “Ehhhhh…?” and he’d say I could have another 5-10 minutes, until finally I said I would probably never be ready so we should just get on with it.

So, I stood up on a chair in a gallery filled with fanfuckingtastic arts, and people who love the things I love, and a few people who love ME (present or in spirit) and launched into my CREEPS piece.
It seemed to be well received! But you can judge for yourself!

A little shaky, a little nervous, and kind of sweaty. But I did it Goddamnit! I’d be lying if I said it didn’t feel good to get up there and overcome that fear, no matter how hesitant I was.

Hey, Fear. FUCK YOU!

It felt even better to have people come up afterwards and tell me they liked it. This was only the second time I had done a live reading.

The part where all the anticipation and nerves crashed and I threw up in John Skipp’s house felt less good. Snuggling with his dog Scooby fixed that though. That dog is a LOVE BUG! I’m still obsessing about her.

Everyone was fantastic.
Michael Allen Rose educated us about the dangers of Cranial Party Wolf Infestation..

Spike Marlowe showed us how a placenta ought to be treated.

Mark Leventhal read from The Emerald Burrito of Oz, a fantastic adventure written by him and John Skipp.

Laura Lee Bahr knocked my motherfucking socks off and won my heart for all time with her medley of Beastie Boys songs accompanied by an accordion

I THOUGHT Cody Goodfellow was going to be there, but he sent this guy instead. (Keep an eye on your cigarette lighters when he’s around)

Andrew Goldfarb/ The Slow Poisoner sang us some spooky stories

The entire weekend was magic.

I kept saying that I was going to be bummed to have to go back to “Real Life” until I realized…this IS my life! And how very grateful I am for that. I know amazing talented people who care about me and are willing to help me achieve this dream of mine. Not everyone has a support system like that. I’d be a fool to not gush about it. So:
GUSH GUSH GUSH I ADORE YOU PEOPLE! GUSH GUSH

On Saturday evening we packed a picnic and headed over to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery and watched Stanley Kubric’s Lolita projected on the side of a mausoleum. Cinespia apparently puts on this event all summer long. I can’t imagine anywhere else that would allow for use of the cemetery space this way. But, leave it to Los Angeles.
If you’re in the area, or will be at some point this summer, check out their summer film schedule. This weekend they will be showing A Nightmare on Elm Street.
I’m dying. I can’t believe I won’t get to watch that in a cemetery. So, if you can, you should. It’s only $10. Not much more than a regular movie. Plus you can’t beat the ambiance and you can bring booze and whatever food you’d like. (Personally, we went a little nuts. But I’m okay with that. YOGURT STARS 4 EVAH!)

Check out the full photo attack here. Some of these photos were stolen..erm..borrowed and others have nothing to do with the reading itself, but are from the weekend and probably contain a few cameos <3
click images to enlarge

And to end it all with a bang, just like at the gallery, here is Rose juggling machetes!