Jul 28, 2014

Dining With a Genius: MY LUNCHES WITH ORSON

Recently, I've been doing "research" into Orson Welles - mostly, it's because I'm writing a Black Bat story for Airship 27 (and yes, I have read their past collections), and Welles....somewhat informs the story. That's meant rewatching his films (including revisiting personal favorite The Third Man and renewing my love of The Stranger)...and purchasing a copy of Peter Biskind's My Lunches With Orson
Consisting of a series of lunch conversations between Welles and filmmaker Henry Jaglom, My Lunches With Orson focuses on Welles' final years, giving us a glimpse of a filmmaker struggling to get his work financed, and well beyond the "Paul Masson" years.

If you're looking for a concise explanation of the art of filmmaking....you may not find that here. If you're looking for the beginnings of independent cinema, and of the almost entrepreneurial spirit a director has to have to complete their vision....you will find that here. If you're looking for straightforward, near-gossipy talk about Hollywood icons during the "golden years"....you will definitely find it here. Lunches really captures an honest glimpse of a man known for misdirection and conjuring unique images with his guard down. (One condition of Jaglom's lunches were that he would record Welles, but keep the recorder out of Welles' sight).

Legend has it these tapes were kept for over thirty years, and were only recently found, transcribed, and turned into the book. Thankfully, My Lunches With Orson is organized into short, pithy chapters that never feel like they outstay their welcome. It's the kind of book that Roger Ebert would have championed - a rare glimpse into a writer/director's thought patterns that makes lofty concepts accessible. It's a breezy read (especially if you're using a tablet/e-reader), and quite honestly, deserves a place on your shelf.
If you enjoy great filmmaking or seek writing which is brutally honest about Hollywood without having the tinge of tabloid spirit, you definitely want to check out My Lunches With Orson.

(And if you're seeking more pulp-centric fare, why not check out both volumes of Airship 27's Black Bat Mystery and Altus Press' Black Bat Omnibus Volumes One and Two? At the very least, you can read about a crimefighter who dresses like a bat who is not named Bruce Wayne....)

Jul 27, 2014

Sunday Afternoon Online Knockabout

As you can hear on this week's episode of Zone 4, I had the opportunity to review pal Ron's latest comic for Red Bud Studios, I.V. Frost. (It will be released at Pulpfest in early August). Please give the podcast a listen for a more detailed review, but the short form - I liked it.

Thanks to making my publishing debut in Pro Se Productions' Tall Pulp anthology, I now have my own Amazon.com page. Trust me when I say that by this time next year, there will be some other works joining it. (And yes, I will be creating an Amazon store with my editing and writing efforts, so keep an eye on that page - it'll grow. Trust me.)

In other news, I've switched domain hosts (since my previous one was evil, and I am falling in love with my new domain registrar/web hosting site DreamHost) for my personal web site, and I'm creating a web site to develop a freelance consultancy. (Although I'm open to full time work, I also want something in place for the various freelance/consulting opportunities that seem to come my way). If you want to provide feedback on my professional site, please feel free to drop me a line via e-mail. It's a WordPress site, and since I'm honing my mad WP skills, could always use the feedback.

One of the other things that has happened is that, as a south sider, I'm learning about some really cool local initiatives, including a business incubator due east in the Woodlawn neighborhood. For more details (and for a heads-up on a free information session), please check out my blog post for ChicagoNow.

In other news, I will also be working on two other projects - I'm fortunate enough to be running the charity auction for Chicago TARDIS this year, and I'll also be prepping for the Chicago Geek Breakfast on August 14th. It's a nice, casual networking event for those of us who want an alternative to the $25-for-two-drink-tickets style of event prevalent in Chicago. If you're in the area on that day, please stop by and give us a visit - you can RSVP via Eventbrite.

Jul 23, 2014

More Adventures in Editing & Writing

As I'm slowly returning to the blogging life (currently working on a consulting business - drop me a line at gordon@gordondymowski.com if you want more details), I'm finding that I want to avoid turning into a self-promotional blog. However, with not one, not two, but three projects published, I thought it was time to make the announcements....and to engage in a little capitalistic endeavor.

First, as always, my story Crossing McCausland was published in Pro Se Productions' Tall Pulp, an anthology focusing on tall tales and legends in a pulp-style setting. Stories range from a science fiction Paul Bunyan to female pirate Anne Bonney. (My story features Joe Magarac, a literal "man of steel", in 1950s-era St. Louis). There are some really great stories in this collection (I didn't just read the proofing copy for my own story), and comes highly recommended. (It's also available as softcover, and if you click the graphic on the left, you can order the Kindle version.

On the editing side, my first selection is from Airship 27 Productions, and it's a really great book. It's called Hitwolf , and it's a clever mix of Goodfellas and The Howling. (Because werewolves plus gangsters makes a great combination). There's the right amount of urban grit, and there isn't a false step in the book. It's a great example of modern "new pulp" at its best, and you would be remiss in not reading it.

Another editing project come to fruition is the vintage pulp reprint The Crime Master from Altus Press. (I had reviewed their rerelease of stories featuring Inspector Allhoff, and they also specialize in some pulp scholarship like Phillip Jose Farmer's Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life ). Crime Master focuses on Gordon Manning's conflict with super-criminal The Griffin. (And no, you may not make a Family Guy joke). It's a series of stories with a serial feel, and is a really good example of pop culture from an age now past. It's also worth checking out, and will make its debut at PulpFest in early August.

So now that I'm entering the field of "professional writer/editor" as well as "freelance marketing consultant" and "intimidatingly charming podcast host", my blog posts have been a little self-referential lately, and that's fine. If it means getting some great works into people's hands, all the better.