Monday, July 30, 2012

Back to Normal?

One of the greatest frustrations in modern times is software or hardware that doesn't work like it should on a computer.   I can think of nothing that gets my blood boiling faster than an application that was working and then doesn't.  The worst part is, it all began because I did an app upgrade.
I was playing with my iMovie to create the Duck I published over the weekend.  Got the Duck up and running when I saw that iMovie had an upgrade.  Wow it will work even better now, was my thought.
That was not the case. It crashed immediately. The definition of insanity is "Doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result."  That certainly describes my next 36 hours.  
I am a Mac guy, it was my first computer and I have been a loyal fan of Apple since their inception.  I am far from a Genius Bar geek, but it has to be some problem that is buried pretty deep before I go from merely "frustrated" to "stark raving". The iMovie app problem was buried deeper than Jimmy Hoffa. (you kids look it up... Jimmy Hoffa). It finally got to a point of being on the phone with Apple Tech about 4 hours.  
The same gene that won't allow men to ask for directions is the same one that keeps us from calling tech support. It is absolutely my last resort when faced with a continuing problem.  I will only "go there" when I have exhausted every ounce of energy in a fruitless battle. And of course tech support has to start from the absolute basics before they can move on to the stuff I haven't tried already. If I heard the phrase "let's try this" one more time from my telephone buddy Jason, who's accent sounded more like his name was Jaffar, I was ready to fly over to his office and smack him.
Of course we tried all things I had already done like take out all the files and the preferences and the plug ins and see if that made a difference. By this time I had even tossed and reinstalled the app twice ignoring the upgrade that seemed to cause the problems. "Go ahead and open up iMovie," Jason would say followed by two words from me,  "Okay... crash".  Repeating this routine getting the same results occupied our time for most of the 4 hours. 
It's not that the errant app was impeding my work.  Everything else was working fine, only an app that I hadn't used in several months and probably wouldn't again for at least that long was crashing. But as is the way with this modern day drama, nothing in my life could progress until I had the app up and running again. Finally deep in the library of Linux code was a tiny little plug in that was causing all the problems.  We tossed that and the next time I opened iMovie it worked fine. I had to say good bye to my good friend Jason with tears of sadness that our time together was done.
One of the greatest moments of happiness in modern times is software or hardware that works just like it should on a computer.  If all events in life would have this immediate and joyful resolve... it would be a better ride.
As you were,

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ventriloquist Goes Crazy?

It is my belief that most ventriloquists aren't crazy; it is the people around them that assume they are crazy. Case in point:
I am working on a project with my friend Harry. He is in North Carolina and I am here in California. Our collaborations in the past have taken place in a shared office in the same state.  This long distance partnership is more difficult.  It means that we have several conversations on the phone almost daily. Depending on the matter at hand we can talk for an hour. If I don't end up laughing out loud more than twice it was not a very long conversation. 
Harry and Jay. Collaborating? Playing? or just Crazy?
Harry and I have always enjoyed the process of creation, often, more than the actual completion of the job. When we were producing shows for network television we used to say: Creating the show is like meeting a dream girl and taking her back to your house for a fantasy evening. Actually doing the show is like trying to get her out of your house a week later when you have lost total interest in the relationship. 
I like to pace when I think. Since modern phones do not require you to stay in one place anymore, I can pace while I am thinking and talking on the phone.  In conversations with Harry I find myself strolling around my yard conversing.  When I am talking to Harry I am pitching jokes, talking plot twists and character development for our story.  It never occurred to me that the conversation was being "shared" with anyone else.  Evidently I was wrong.
Although in Los Angeles you can go days without seeing your neighbors, when I returned from Wilmington last week I saw my next door neighbor Dale. Dale is retired and spends most of his time puttering around his house. He said, "Well, I guess you are getting ready to do a big show?"
I was taken back thinking that he might be a follower of JJtwoandonly on FaceBook or might even be a  blog reader.  However, I don't see him of an age or generation that would do much more than email on a computer.  I said, "Yes, in Wilmington in a couple of months. How did you know that?"
He said, "I've heard you rehearsing in your yard."
As first that didn't make any sense until I realized that he had been listening to my conversations with Harry over the last few weeks.  If one could not see the phone in my hand one might think that I was conversing with myself. In my profession it would be acceptable and in context... normal.  It might have been easy to say that I was just talking on the phone to a friend, but for some reason I didn't go there.  I just said, "That's the great thing about what I do, I can rehearse anywhere." 
I guess it is easier to let him think that I am talking to myself than trying to explain a conversation that wouldn't make sense to him any way. Although I didn't correct his misconception of what I am doing in my back yard, I will be aware that when I am pacing the perimeter of the yard I might be monitored by the neighbors.  Although, having your neighbors think that you are crazy is a good way to keep them at a friendly distance. 
All if this is NOT to say that I don't sometimes talk to myself or Bob when I am alone around the house. It is possible that Dale also heard one of those moments in my life. Who knows? 
So here is to being perceived as crazy while not really having to be so.... I love my work.
As you were,

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Technology is: Therfore...uh.. What?

When there are so many technical abilities at the fingertips of so many to be shared so quickly in this day,  the question is not "Do we text or tweet"?  The question is "should we do it at all?"
Case in point... This is an "in-house" self congratulatory animated commercial shamelessly promoting my show at Thalian Hall on September 15, 2012.    
Here it is, I will continue after.

Now think about this from my perspective. Who knows if the time spent putting this together will really motivate someone to buy a ticket. I know it is not John Ivy quality animation, is the amazing thing.  I drew that duck, did the voice, and my iPad animated and converted it into a video cartoon with sound.
As a kid my favorite piece of equipment was the tape recorder. At seven years old my first tape recorder was an Ampex that was as big as a speaker cabinet.  I had that one over a summer because it actually belonged to the school. Over the years I have owned countless recording devices in every format ever invented.  
I spent my childhood doing voices, recording my ventriloquist routines, interviewing people, writing radio shows all on some sort of recording device. But I wanted to do more than I could do with just a simple tape recorder. I wanted to add sound effects, speed it up and slow it down.  I was developing characters and listening to the the sounds I could make. What I wanted was to be the voice of an animated character. But it was beyond my equipment. I wanted my own recording studio at Disney Main Lot. 
So here it is, Sat. July, 28, 2012 and I took my drawing of a duck put it in PhotoSpeak, recorded a few takes and watched the animation instantly. I voiced an animated cartoon in less than an hour. I added scrolling titles and a slug at the end and now here it is on the world wide web stage for anyone to see. 
Perhaps the question "Shall we do it?" was answered when Sir Edmund Hillary said he would climb Mt. Everest "because it is there".  
This is an amazing dimension to live in.
As you were,

Friday, July 27, 2012

Neither Rain nor sleet, nor dark of Night....

That is the phrase that they once used for delivery of the mail.  Perhaps in this modern technology that can't be said for email.  Yesterday I wrote a blog on the road and sent it through my normal channels which involves emailing it.  I was proud of the article because it talked about my Dreams experience in Wilmington, and some thoughts on Thalian Hall. Although that emailing process is almost instantaneously published, it never appeared on this site. I rewrote it in abridged form from my iPhone, and the results were the same... no post.
This morning I get a message from the robots that patrol the web telling me that I did not need to resend the message which contained the blog but that it would be delayed by up to two days.  I have never received a message like that before. I have gotten the messages like we all get that the message was undeliverable, but not that it had taken a side trip.
So... rather than try and rewrite the thoughts I have already written I will wait to see it it shows up in a couple of days. 
Either way, my time at Dreams of Wilmington was such a joy that I am still shining from it a bit.  To see kids that are struggling just to exist in this world take such joy in the Arts, and rededicate their attention to something constructive and beautiful is tremendously uplifting.  The executive Director Tracey Wilkes is living proof that one person can make a difference in the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands of others. If there were more Tracey Wilkes in this world it would certainly be a more beautiful and productive place.
So,  it is balls to the wall and pedal to the metal to get this circus to Wilmington and get it on film.  That of course will start another clock running on the editing and marketing process.  As I told the kids at Dreams, it is not that working in the Arts is less strenuous, it is just doing the thing that you love.  If you love what you do then it isn't work... but the process is the same.  Oxymoron... perhaps.
As you were,

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


It woke me up this morning. There is nothing quite as disturbing as trying to shake the specters of a nightmare while at the same time trying to figure out where you are. This was true today when I woke trying to figure out what was real, what was a dream and where the hell I was. Turns out that I am still in Wilmington, NC. Of course that was the last thought that I came to when I fully awoke. It is confusing even when I realize it is not my own bed but a hotel room I am waking too. Living a large part of my like in Hotel rooms, the process becomes a regular event. The homogenous nature hotel rooms does not help me place it in a geographic location while in a groggy state of awareness. I have joked with my kids that when it is time to "put me away" they should find a home for the aged that looks like a Hilton hotel room. As they lock me away they will simply say, "Mr. Johnson, when they are ready for your sound check, I'll call you." In my addled mind it will be very familiar and I will write blogs forgetting that there is no show to do that night.
The nightmare is a familiar one as well. It comes back to me over and over again. The settings and the surroundings change but the panic remains constant. Basically it is this: I am somewhere I do not recognize, and for some reason I put down the suitcase that contains one of my wooden partners. I am distracted for a moment or in my dream perhaps it could be hours, but when I return the suitcase is not there. A panic ensues and there is no one that realized the depth of my concern or the location of the solution.
Last night I was on some island. A softball game was taking place and after retiring the batting order I am enlisted to be next at bat. I protest that it has been too long since I tried to hit a ball with a bat, but it as unconscious drama dictates, I am the teams only hope of winning. The pitcher can not get a ball even near the plate and the game is delayed while they try to find a tee to hold the ball so the game can proceed. Time comes for the water taxi to take us back to the mainland and the spot where I left my case is deserted. I accuse several people of taking it... by accident and or malice. I even get "into it" with an old lady who swears that a case which looks exactly like mine is hers. It is loaded onto a cart and covered with a grandmother shawl. It is an anvil type case and I remind her that an elderly lady would not have a case like that to travel. She refuses to open it up to prove that it didn't contain a puppet. It seems to me an easy solution to the misunderstanding, but she is absolutely sure I am wrong and offended by my insistence. I woke with mixed emotions, disgust at the old grandmother, panic on the location of the case and bewildered on where to start looking in this unfamiliar yet totally recognizable hotel room.
Of course the room is small enough the moment my eyes clear to see the actual case clearly, so the major panic is calmed. The old lady vanishes but I continue to try for a few minutes to understand where I am and why I am there.
One might think that in a lucid moment of the dream I would remember this is a recurring theme and just go with the fantasy. That never happens. I have had lucid moments when I know that I am dreaming and go with the flow, but it never happens when I am looking for that case. To my subconscious credit there is always someone in the dream plot who will say to me in affect, "You'll find it. Don't be upset... everything is fine." This means to me on some level I know that I am dreaming, but the voice is not strong enough to hold weight in that nightmare.
It does prove the power of the imagination when, even in a completely illogical situation, the belief that it is total reality continues to be so intense.
There is a lot to do today and I do not feel as rested as I could be. However, as I go through the day, worry about the location of the personified tools of my trade will not be an issue.... I hope.
As you were,

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Good morning Wilmington

I'm here in Wilmington to do some publicity for the show in September. We checked on the set builders at Scenic Asylum and did some work at the theatre. I sold short the amount of work that it takes to mount the show, Broadway style, and film it at the same time. It is like Driving in a Nascar race while attempting to watch in the stands at the same time.
This is a picture of Bryan and Marge the director and producer of the shoot standing in front of the poster that is advertising the show.
Tony, the artistic director, gave me an historic tour of Thalian Hall. I have been saying that it is about the same age theatre as the Helen Hayse, however, it is almost a hundred years older. Miss Hayes was just a thought when this theatre was doing shows. Tony is such a great artistic director and historian for this theatre. I had no idea the importance of this theatre, we just picked it because it was so beautiful. I am really getting more and more excited about the show.... September 15, 2012. It seemed so far away when we started making plans a year ago, now it is a matter of weeks away. I hope that anyone who is near the area will come and join us on this historic site with what will be an historic event.
Here is a question that I wanted answered and Tony had the scoop. I asked what does Thalian mean. When I Google I get the theater but not the actual definition of the word. According to Tony, Thalia is one of the Greek muses. There is a bust of her in the lobby of Thalian Hall. She looks good for a woman pushing 2k. I'm not sure how they got her to sit still long enough to have a sculpture done but there she is.
This time of year Wilmington is hot and humid. I have to say it has not been as hot and humid as Houston, Texas. Wilmington, is a beautiful city full of southern charm and wonderfully friendly people. It just feels very right that we would document my show here.
Time will probably go to quickly for some of the production details and too long for me to get the chance to do the show again. More later from these same channels.
As you were,

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Vent Haven Museum

I liked Vent Haven already because of all the memorabilia and history dedicated to my art. Now there is even more to love about it.... there are "ghost" stories associated with it.
In a late night conversation with Lynn Joy, Al Semock, Lisa Sweasy, and Annie Roberts the subject of discussion turned to ghost stories. It seems the Museum is not immune to such legends. I guess I never really thought of it since ventriloquism has such an other world reputation and past anyway; And Vent Haven is housed in old historic buildings. But here is the way I heard it last night from Annie, who literally grew up in the museum.
One of the members of the Advisory board was doing some video taping late one evening in Building one. (If you do not know building one then you have to come to the Museum and experience it yourself.) Along with Annie the job at hand was to catalogue some of the older vent puppets on video for posterity. At one point during the filming the lights went out suddenly casting them in total darkness.
The building has no windows and it was night time as well. It was only a few minutes before Annie's husband showed up with a lit candle and the appropriate breaker switch was restored and there were no voices, sitings or contact from the other side. However, none of the images of that evening survived. The video was blank. Cue the spooky music.
Now it is an old building and breakers are made to turn off, in fact that is their function. And logically one might say that the extra power used by the camera was enough to throw the breaker. Although, that problem is more associated with toasters or hairdryers which pull massive amounts of power, much more than a video camera. And one might argue that the very power surge that tripped the breaker was enough to erase the magnetic tape. But what can not be argued is the timing of the entire event. Those old puppets in that old building have the most varied and colorful history. For me it was a phenom to be lumped in the category of mysterious. For others it was an electrical problem. To those naysayers I suggest that the problem is not a continuing one and it has not repeated itself since.
One more reason to love Vent Haven Museum....

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hello Blog

"Hello, Jay. I haven't seen you around here lately." said the Blog.
"Hello, Blog, but you know I was only gone for the weekend." said Jay.
"The weekend and Friday and Monday." Blog added.
"Okay... a four day week end. That's all." said Jay.
"Well, is seems longer. The last time you were around these parts was last Thursday.  Were you out of town? Did I do something to piss you off?"
"No, I 've been involved in a project and it seems to have taken up most of my writing time.", Jay replied.
"What kind of project?" the blog asked.
"I'm prepping for the Two and Only shoot in Wilmington, NC, Thalian Hall on September 15th*."said Jay.
"That is months away..."
"But there are lots of things to do, I mean we are producing the play as a live event AND we are filming it at the same time.  It really  is a double edged sword." Jay said. " And, I'm writing a stage play with one friend and a screen play with another. 
"Did you say WRITING?" the blog said with attitude, " I knew it...You're seeing someone else!"
"No, No it's not like that. It's just a matter of running out of time during the day to blog."
"It would seem you have time during the day for everyone else but me. After all that I have done for you, how could you...."
"I think you are making a big deal out of nothing." Jay interjected.
"Nothing... you're writing something else? After all the things that I have done for you. I have been here letting you write all over me for the past six years. Six years. I've been here for you... when no body else would let you write, I was here. When you wrote smack about other people and got in trouble, I was here, When you shared your feelings, I was here.  Remember when I stood by you while you were doing Sam Jade, dyslexic detective? I didn't say anything, I just let you have your way with that idea. Remember what happened?  Don't answer. I'll tell you what happened... that story line didn't catch on like you thought. No on liked it, but I didn't say anything. I just let you come back to your senses.  I've been here for you through thin and thinner. And now you are off writing something else. Well, thanks a lot Mr. Fine Fickle Friend."
"I think you are upset for no reason." calmed Jay.
"No reason.  Look Jaaay, I'm not some tweet or FaceBook status that you can just write and forget about... I am your blog, the one who has stood by you when you had nothing else.  And you run off and write something else at the first idea that catches your fancy. You wouldn't even be a writer if it weren't for me.  Oh yeah, if you think this is all about you, you have another 'think' coming.  If you can't find the time to write the very blog that has been a loyal friend to you since your high and mighty Broadway days, then you are no kind of writer at all. You are just a poser.  You heard me a poser!"
"I can't believe you are taking it this way.." said Jay.
"Go ahead, play thespian at Wilmington, NC on Sept. 15, (Thalian Hall, tickets available on line now, like JJTwoandOnly on facebook to keep updated on the show and release of the DVD.... it will be historic*) write your screen play,  write your stage play.... Write your obituary for all I care. Just remember when you have done all that, I'll be here. That's right I will be right here.  I'm not going anywhere. When you need a place to write I'll be here, and you'll come crawling back... you need me more than I need you. You are not the only blog writer in the world you know. Look around the Internet is lousy with bloggers.... most more loyal than you." the Blog huffed.
"Oh come on... it's been four days... " pleaded Jay.
"Don't write on me right now... I'm just not in the mood for your bull shit this morning. Go and write what you will with those 'other projects', you bastard."
"I'll come back and write when you are feeling differently." said Jay.

For the first time the Blog was silent.

As you we - "I can't believe you would say... As you were at a time like this." and with that the Blog shut down.
As... uh... time goes by,

*Mention of "Jay Johnson: The Two and Only" playing Thalian Hall, Wilmington, NC on September 15, 2012 was paid for by the 'Jay Johnson committee to preserve the show.'

I'm Jay Johnson and I approved of this message.... except the part where the blog got bent out of shape.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

New Con

And you thought I would be writing about age today.  Yesterday, having become another year older and several years wiser you might think I would be expounding upon that wisdom, today. That is exactly what I plan to do.
I would like to use my new status of age to impart knowledge to you electronically addicted, text talking, drawsomething playin', instaphoto interrupting, video taking, constantly FaceBook checking younger kids.... you get off my lawn.  Here is my rant: 
Today I got notice of a new comment made on a 2006 blog post. Upon reading it I erased it immediately so I can only paraphrase but it was at least this vague or more.  Posted anonymously it said: 
"Thank you again for another wonderful article. It is great to read such useful information so well written these days on line. I am conducting a seminar and yours is the kind of knowledge we are looking for to professionally help us.  Would you consider it. Here is the website" 

Below this was a link to a site. Corvette was in the URL. I was never tempted to click on the link.
I went to the blog to delete it from the actual post, but it did not exist. It never went through the blogger filter, it was a grand fake, but certainly fooled me. 
It was obviously a robo generated message that could not get through the Google "type what you see in the box" firewall. All other information was correct, and formatted the same way as any Google alert. The fact that it referred to a post I wrote six years was a wickedly deceptive device.
I suppose this is just another type of Trojan horse, and the site link was perhaps benign, but even a shoe ad can be irritating when unsolicited.  I understand this is the new age of junk mail but the element of deception  is not new with the media.  If you are as old (and wise) as me you remember a letter that would come personally addressed to your house every year or so.  It would officially announce that the addressee was the winner of a sweepstakes. Upon opening it up it was, alas, only an ad promoting a purchase not a notice of collection.
The difference between physical junk mail and junk email is the immediacy of a computer. Whereas I would have to call or write or physically purchase the product promoting the physical junk mail; one click on the link  of a junk email and your computer could get screwed.
Be careful out there kids. The economic wolves are learning faster than the rest of us sheep.
As you were,

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What the TSA saw......

This is an artist's rendition of what Bob looks like to the TSA. It is his air tight carry on case as it goes through the x-ray. 
Today is my birthday and as a cosmic gift, I do not have to fly in an airplane for a week.
As you were,

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Sandra Brown is an old friend.  I don't mean she is old like John McCain, I mean old like, I have known her for a long time. Perhaps Sandra is my long friend. 
At any rate, Sandra has written more books than I will ever read in my life time and is continually on the New York Times best seller list.  Her husband Michael was the live show manager one year for a show I did in college.
I remember at the end of that summer we were all talking about what we would do in the fall after the show closed.  Sandra said she thought she would like to write a novel.  The rest they say, "is History".
One of the things that has stuck with me all these years is her writing discipline.  She said that writing was a lonely job and she needed long periods of undisturbed time to do it.  Once she had kids it was more difficult for her to get the time to herself.  Finally she set up a rule for the family to live by.  When she was in her office writing with the door closed she was not to be disturbed for any reason unless it involved fire or blood.
In my semi-professional attempts at writing I thought I could just tune out the real world and go into my own.  I seem to be good at daydreaming. However, I found that unless my thoughts are isolated, I can't really write what I am feeling. I really do need to have a quite place with zero distractions but that environment is increasingly harder to find. While that continues to be the case, it is also an excuse. I can blame the smallest distraction for my inability to write well.  In those cases a silent room at a Monastery would not be sufficient to give birth to an idea.
Like right now, I am at the desk in my office and no one else is in the house.  I have all that Sandra Brown would need to turn out another best seller.  But it is not working for me.  I am completely distracted by a clicking noise that seems to accompany my every thought.  It is relentless and unless I completely stop writing it never goes away.  It is the obnoxious sound of my fingers typing on the keyboard.  There is is again, every time I think of something to write that noise starts up again. Like just then when I wrote "just then".
I tried using those dictation programs that type what you say.  I find that is not a good answer to the problem.  It is like having a collaborator who doesn't speak English, but is continually correcting your words.  It is the equivalent of trying to drive a car just by telling the car what to do. Besides, when I talk the computer tends to get confused about who is speaking me or Bob. 
I tried ear plugs. That doesn't work. When I really am in the moment with the muse I can actually hear the words before I type them.  Obviously I can't do that with ear plugs... what am I schizophrenic. And don't think that the virtual keyboard on an iPad is the answer.  It is like tapping your fingers on a glass desk top, I don't feel any connection to the process. 
There was a time I pretended the keyboard clicking was Morse code and the words on the screen just the translation of that information. It didn't last long. I typed SOS on the key board one day.  Since that is the only thing I know in Morse code I knew the clicks on my keyboard did not match the number of clicks necessary for those three letters.  I lost all faith that the story being delivered in code was the same as the story that was being written.  I began to fear that the story being clicked in code was a much better story than the one I was reading on the screen. 
Now you know the difficulty I have in delivering this blog.  Although I think the phrase is way over used these days.... "just sayin'"
As you were,

Monday, July 09, 2012

DrawSomething....Draw Some...

I enjoy playing DrawSomething when I have a chance.  I draw in my spare time anyway and to have suggestions of things to draw is a great exercise in Art.  In fact I think my technique has improved since I have been playing.  It is easy to get lost in the minutia of the drawing and forget communication and perception.  This game makes you put perception at the top of the skill list.  Numbers of players who are not so much artists get it, and some that draw well do not. 
There was one picture I could not guess from a person I do not know but have been playing with for a while. This player drew a stick figure with the arms angled upward. It could have been a diagram for  semaphore signals if the stick figure had been holding flags.  But Alas, the correct answer was Karate.  There was no way this symbol conjured up that ancient Martial art.
This brings me to the thought of the day.  On one of my turns at DrawSomething the word to draw was "WigWam". I  realized that a wigwam and a Tee Pee are visually the same, if not synonyms.  I was hoping that the player on the other side could figure it out from the letters as well as the drawing.  He did, but it reminded me of a joke.
A guy goes to the psychiatrist and says, "Doc, I am having terrible dreams."  
Doctor says, "Tell me about them... maybe I can help."
"Okay.... sometimes I think I am a Tee Pee and some time I think I am a Wig Wam."
The doctor says, "Well, it is obvious to me that you are two tents."

LOLing yet? Well you may have to read it out loud.  Or maybe you have to have a comedian tell it. Or
maybe it just isn't that funny.  I like it... and it is a clean joke.
As you were,

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Here is the Story...

"The Dream"
At this moment I can't remember if it was real-life millionaire publisher William Randolph Hearst or Orson Wells playing John Foster Cane, fictitious millionaire publisher who told his reporters:
"You get me the picture I'll write the story."
I have taken this advice to heart.  This is a picture, here is the story. But first a point of clarification.

I am certain whomever made the statement above meant picture as in a photograph. Something news worthy, provocative or salacious.  Before television a newspaper photograph connected the reader to the reality of the story.  If you believed the picture the story must me true. 
I think those days of journalism are gone. Mass information is now main-stream. There is no need to "publish" a hard copy.  In the time it takes to print a newspaper, the story is hours old.  We have an instant explosion of information to sort through.
At the same moment this explosion of information is happening, an explosion of graphic interface is also growing exponentially.  Pictures have never been easier to record and publish. Photos and Videos are available instantly world wide. We are almost watching news in real time. 
There is a down side to this new world of images. As easily as photographs can be shared and broadcast they can be easily manipulated.  Today it is virtually impossible to tell what is real or fake just by looking at a picture.  
(Here is a link to a story about a bogus photo I crafted one time.. A Picture of Santa Claus appeared on my niece's camera in Bloomfield, New Jersey on Christmas Morning years ago.  For my young niece it was irrefutable evidence of the existence of Santa Claus. For me it was hours of work in Photoshop piecing several pictures together.  We finally destroyed my niece's world by telling her the picture was a fraud. Fortunately under the Affordable Health Care Act she will be able to pay for quality therapy.)

With that said, here is the story that goes with the picture above. This picture is an example of digital Gothic modern expressionism. It was painted on an iPad with the app Procreate. Of the many apps available for the iPad Procreate gives a more fluid result in retina screen display quality.  
The style and the painting itself was influenced by Expressionist artist Edvard Munch who painted the post Modern expressionist painting of "The Scream"in 1893.  This work by unknown underground artist Jayson is entitled "The Dream".  Although similar to The Scream, The Dream differs in one area.
The Scream has been the target of several high-profile art thief's. In 1994, the version in the National Gallery was stolen. It was recovered several months later. In 2004, both The Scream and Madonna were stolen from the Munch Museum, and recovered two years later. 
Where as The Scream has been stolen twice and recovered, art critics hope that The Dream will be stolen and never recovered.  
The Art world is such a fickle place for an expressionistic digital Gothic Modern artist.
As you were,

Friday, July 06, 2012

A Thousand Words ....

Sometimes it is just a sketch. Sometimes it becomes my thousand word blog.  Sometimes it is better visualized than verbalized. 
As you were,

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Andy and Me

It was Andy Griffith's personal manager who saw me at a dinner theatre in Fort Worth, Texas and said if I ever wanted to take a shot in Los Angeles, he would like to manage me.  That is exactly what I wanted to do and in the short span only two months, moved to LA. The manager's name was Dick Linke. 
Long before Michael Ovitz used the idea of talent packaging as a show business wedge, Dick was already an accomplished master of the technique.  Everything revolved around Andy.  If someone wanted Andy to do the Merv Griffin Show, then they needed to book me as well.  If they wanted Andy for a Vegas gig, I was the opening act.  I was teamed with Andy on several different venues and opened for him a lot.  He was always very nice to me and we became friends. 
Dick also handled Frankie Avalon.  One day Dick called and said Andy, Frankie and I were flying to Pennsylvania to do a free show.  Dick was very specific that there were to be no Italian jokes and especially no jokes about the Mafia. It seems that the mob was our host, this was a show for them, and I was to keep my eyes open, and mouth shut about anything that I saw.  No problem.  Even now I don't want to use real names in this blog.
Although Frankie was friends to most of the "guys" especially the Godfather, Andy and I were totally innocent about the life style of the mob.  We were like Dorothy in the land of Oz, it was definitely not Kansas anymore, Toto. 
Normally I dine for free on this story alone with all its details, but here I abbreviate.  If we are ever together for an evening and I am free to tell the whole true story with details, it is quite jaw dropping, and I have to admit that I tell it very well.
Cutting to the chase, hours after our performance Andy and I find ourselves with the Godfather, Frankie and several others  at a club near the edge of town.  Frankie leaves with "friends", the Godfather calls it a night but Andy and I are still partying.  The Godfather says good evening, and leaves his driver/body guard and limo for us to get back to our hotel when we are ready.  I remember distinctly he told the uni-neck driver, "Stay with them and take them any place they want to go." 
We stayed about an hour more and decided it was time to go back to the hotel. The driver pulled the car around, we got in, and the burly driver said, "Where too, Gentlemen?"  In that distinctive southern drawl Andy looked at me and said, "Well, Jaaay, the Godfather said for him to take us where ever we wanted to go didn't he?" I said, "I believe so, Andy,"  
"Well, I know this nice little after hours place at Fifth and Fifty-Fifth in Manhattan, why don't we go there and have a drink." I smiled in the knowledge that we were half a days drive from NYC, but with the same drawl, Andy turned to the driver and said, "Fifth and Fifty- Fifth, New York City."
The driver smiled and raised the divider between us and him and the car sped off.  
In hushed tones Andy and I compared notes about the evening.  "Did you feel the gun under that guys coat when he hugged us?"  "Did you see how the Godfather had two fingers missing and smoked his cigar with the other three?" "Who was that girl that Frankie was with?"  We both giggled like two teenagers after seeing their first porno movie. 
We got deep into conversation, there was wine in the Limo, we popped the cork and we were having a great time.  But after awhile we realized that we were not back at the hotel.  As we remembered, it was only a 30 minute drive to get from the hotel to the club we just left. What's more we were driving in the middle of open country side, there was no town anywhere to be seen.  
I remembered all those gangster movies where guys would be wined and dined and then driven to some isolated location never to be heard of again.  I could see the same thought running through Andy's eyes as well.  Andy lowered the divider and said to the driver, "Uh, where is it that you are taking us?"
The driver didn't look back, he just said, "Fifth and Fifty-fifth... Manhattan."  Andy said, "Oh no that was just a joke, we need to go back to the hotel."  Without comment, complaint, or even acknowledgement the driver slowed down, maneuvered a U-turn in the black stretch Lincoln and in an hour we were back at the hotel.
That adventure sealed the bond between me and Andy, we would speak of this moment many times after and giggle to ourselves.  It is the way I remember my friend Andy Griffith.  
There were those who experienced a different side of the man, an angry aggressive side.  I never did, and found the stories I heard about that side of him hard to believe based on personal experience.  I have not seen him since his  Matlock days.  I am grateful that he was willing to show me the ropes and set me on my own path.  I will miss my friend and wish him a wonderful eternal rest.
As you were,