Monday, April 28, 2014

COLLINSPORT SHIPPING: Fanfiction For Dummies


By MARIE MAGINITY,
author of the Willie Loomis World Series and other DS fanfiction

"Fan fiction is what literature might look like if it were reinvented from scratch after a nuclear apocalypse by a band of brilliant pop-culture junkies trapped in a sealed bunker. They don't do it for money. That's not what it's about. The writers write it and put it up online just for the satisfaction. They're fans, but they're not silent, couch-bound consumers of media. The culture talks to them, and they talk back to the culture in its own language."
 — Lev Grossman, TIME, July 7, 2011

"Fan fiction can be seen as an unauthorized expansion of these media franchises into new directions which reflect the reader's desire to "fill in the gaps" they have discovered in the commercially produced material."
Henry Jenkins, Transmedia Storytelling 101, March 22, 2007

"I reject your reality and substitute my own."

Let’s get out the old I-Ching wands and travel back in time about 350,000 years to check out some pre-comic book drawings by a Neanderthal who calls himself cavedweller121. Neighbors quickly become engrossed in the adventures of his hunter/gatherer protagonists to the point where they will not allow the story to end. And so, the readers becomes the writers, and the saga continues to parts hitherto unforeseen by the original author.

Arthur Wellesley
So, where the term fanfiction is relatively new, the phenomenon is not. Long before copyrights, or even the printing press, stories were told and retold or acted out with little or no regard for the source material. The most famous early fanfiction writer who comes to mind is William Shakespeare, master of the redux. Although none of his works contain a disclaimer, the Bard almost exclusively stole borrowed plotlines and characters from history, mythology and other authors.

Chaucer wrote Troilus and Criseyde in the 1300s, Robert Henryson in the early 15th century imagined Troilus’ tragic fate in a continuation titled The Testament of Cresseid, and Shakespeare penned a dramatic alternate-universe version in 1602.

Fast forward a few hundred years to the young Bronte sisters, writing “real person” fanfiction about Sir Arthur Wellesley and his sons, Arthur and Charles, one of whom becomes the Duke of Zamorna, a superhero of sorts.

Napoleon/Tsar Alexander
And if you thought the first slash fiction dates to Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, you are mistaken. Paintings and descriptions of romantic encounters surrounded Napoleon Bonaparte and Tsar Alexander I. They even appeared together in a thinly disguised passage in Tolstoy’s War and Peace.

In the 20th Century, Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland was subject to several unauthorized “parodies” and fans of Arthur Conan Doyle published the further adventures of Sherlock and Watson in early fanzine publications.

So, ain’t none of this new.

But modern fanfiction has undeniably advanced. We have a relatively new venue, namely the Internet, Fanfiction.net, Archive of Our Own, LiveJournal and Tumblr are all homes for fandom stories, and you can now read them anytime on your Android device, because there’s an app for that.

But you got to know the lingo, so here is handy dandy reference guide to Dark Shadows fanfiction:

ACTORFIC: A subdivision of Real Person Fic. A story centering around not a character, but the actor playing him. Within the realm of Dark Shadows, it is utilized most by preteen girls in fantasies involving Johnny Depp.

ANGST: A very popular genre of fanfic writing. Refers to a character who experiences fear, anxiety or is just plain depressed. He may whine or spend a lot of time feeling sorry for himself. There are a number of Canon characters who fit this description.

AU: Alternate Universe. This is the most commonly used genre in fanfiction. As opposed to a prequel or sequel, the author diverts from Canon and retells the story had the circumstances been different. Stand Fast and Damn the Devil by Osheen Nevoy is a tale of what might have happened had Bill Malloy not been murdered on Widow’s Hill that fateful night. In Eternally Bonded by The Creative Brewery, Barnabas and Josette are a cute vampire couple set loose in modern times.

AVATAR: aka Self Insertion. Often associated with a Mary Sue, the author inserts herself into the story, usually in order to become romantically involved with a Canon character.

BETA: An editor for fanfiction. A beta will proofread and review a story so the author may revise accordingly before posting for the general public. It is highly recommended to have one of these. Seriously.

CANON:
The plot guidelines established in the OS (original series).

CHARACTER DEATH: A warning that, within the story, a Canon character will die. But they have to really die, not just die and come back in the next chapter as a vampire, like a certain author did in Interlude.

CON: A header warning which indicates there will be scenes of consensual sex between (presumably) two characters. Heterosexual mating is indicated with F/M. Related terms include dubious or DUB CON (coerced sex) and NON CON (nonconsensual, or rape). I like to include a warning for nonconsensual bloodsucking when appropriate. See Trigger Warnings.

CRACK FIC: A story that is entirely pointless and utterly ridiculous. Characters are most often OOC and the author was probably high/drunk/on a sugar rush when they wrote it. Usually intended to be humorous. Usually isn’t.

CROSSOVER: A story combining two or more fandoms. Sometimes abbreviated as Xover. My favorite is still Leap into the Shadows, by TrudiRose, which mixes up Quantum Leap and Dark Shadows. Other popular crossovers have combined DS with the Addams Family, Harry Potter, Star Trek and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

DISCLAIMER: You gotta put one at the beginning or end of every fanfic, saying something to the effect of I do not own Dark Shadows, which is a Dan Curtis Production, or any other copyrighted material contained herein.

DRABBLE: A self-contained fanfic of roughly 100 words. A half drabble is 50 words and a double drabble is 200 words. It can be used to describe any extremely short piece. Source of Evil by Yarol says it all in 100 words, and it is a must read.

FANON: Elements that are generally accepted by the fandom as being true but are neither confirmed nor denied by the official source material. Example: Barnabas is a terrible driver.

FEMSLASH: A lesbian pairing, which may be indicated in the header with F/F. For example, Josette dumps Barnabas for Angelique in Two Women in Love by Daryl Wor.

FLUFF: A work that is light-hearted or silly. Usually a one-shot. In Collinsport High, Vicki encountered some mean girls.

GEN or GENFIC: Fanfiction that would be rated G or PG. It contains no sexual situations or graphic violence and has little if any cursing.

HURT/COMFORT (h/c):  A term for stories in which a character is put through a traumatizing experience in order to be later comforted. In Deep Water by N.J. Nidiffer, Willie gets mugged by local thugs and (for a change) Barnabas puts on the Band Aids. The corresponding genre is HURT/NO COMFORT, in which no Band Aids are involved.

LEMON: Light the candles, pour some wine and get ready for some explicit sexual material. The Courage to Stand by mtinpa2005 fits that description and throws in lots of violence as well; aka ADULTFIC.

LIME: Some sexual material, but not quite as lemony.

MARY SUE: An original female character who is unrealistically perfect in every way, or otherwise badly conceived. It comes from a 1973 Star Trek zinefic titled A Trekkie’s Tale, starring Lt. Mary Sue, the youngest lieutenant in the fleet. It is sometimes associated with self insertion and carries negative connotations of wish fulfillment on the part of the author. The male counterpart is a GARY STU.

NOTP: No True Pairing. Your least favorite couple. The match made in hell.

OTP: One True Pairing. Your favorite couple. The match made in heaven.

ONE SHOT:
A single chapter story. In Drastic Measures, by neverwithoutyou, Dr. Hoffman gets rid of her rival, that pesky Angelique, once and for all. Julia is pretty bad-ass to be able to do that in just one chapter.

OC: Original Character. A character not in the original story but created by the fanfic author, i.e., Willie’s wife, Abigail, in the trilogy by Mina225 or the dozens of new faces in the Collinsport Chronicles by Maryland Rose. Variations include OFC (original female character) and OMC (original male character).

OOC – Out Of Character: A term used when a character acts in a way that does not fit with the source material. Example: Vicki understands something, Roger turns down a drink, or Willie uses good judgment.

PLOT BUNNY: An idea that sticks in a writer’s head and will not go away until it is put to paper or screen.

PRE-SERIES: A prequel to the original storyline. Legacy of Shadows: Symphony of Terror by jeuxsansfrontieres takes place in 1927 with 12-year-old Elizabeth and four-year-old Roger Collins. Likewise, a CONTINUATION picks up after the series ended. For instance, Julia marries Barnabas, they produce a hoard of bloodsucking doctors who experiment on themselves, and live happily ever after. A need for closure is often the motivation here. 

POV: Point of View, like when Adam ponders his feelings for Carolyn in Poetry in Motion by Magical Irish Dolphin.

PWP: Porn Without Plot, or “Plot? What Plot?” Often a series of sexually oriented vignettes with no discernable storyline.

RL: Real Life. That thing you have to do between fanfictions.

ROUND ROBIN: A fanfiction written by more than one author; they take turns writing chapters. A kind of Who’s Line is it Anyway? improv game for writers, except that Drew Carey will not be there to buzz you out.

SHIPPING: Derived from the word “relationship,” the writer plays matchmaker for her favorite couple who may or may not have hooked up in the original story. Popular DS examples are Barnabas/Julia and Willie/Maggie. Phrases such as “set the ship to sail” and “watch the ship sink” are common.

SIDE FIC aka DIVERSION: Usually a one-shot which takes place during another story from someone else’s POV. It may also fill the gap between scenes in the original source material. In The Earrings Diversion by Sylvia Bond, Barnabas discovers the missing earrings were actually given to Maggie.

SLASH: A homosexual pairing. Fluffybeaumont has written several non-explicit fics, including Gone to Sea which teams Nathan Forbes and Rev. Trask. The Devil You Know by Kirasmommie is X-rated and well written, if you overlook the misspelling of Carolyn’s name.

SPOILER: Something which may appear in the synopsis or text which gives away the ending or plot twist. It is best to proceed these comments with the warning SPOILER ALERT.

SQUICK: Something you find upsetting, disturbing or totally grosses you out. Some people find adultfic, excessive violence or bad language squicky. Others might be repulsed by an unsightly pairing, such as the aged Barnabas and just about anyone.

TROLL: A person who sows discord on the Internet by posting inflammatory, rude, or off-topic comments called FLAMES. If you “feed the troll” by responding, it may result in a FLAME WAR. Readers who frequent a certain DS Facebook fanpage may have recently seen one on the topic of fanfiction.

TW: Trigger Warning. A heads-up to readers of potentially squicky elements, such as abuse, rape and other uncomfortable situations.

UST: Header warning for Unresolved Sexual Tension.

WAFF: Warm and Fuzzy Feeling. A “feel good” story. Try Easter at the Old House by KatieYoung1960. Spoiler alert: chocolate bunnies are involved.

ZINE: A soft cover bound collection of stories dedicated to a particular fandom. Fanzine popularity decreased significantly with the corresponding rise of fast and free fanfiction on the Internet. The nice thing about zines: They were more carefully edited than their modern counterparts.

***

So, if you have a plot bunny in your head, go churn out a waffy one-shot of lemon fluff with the OTP you ship most.

But, even if you are not inspired to make your own contribution, read and enjoy the many and varied offerings of fanfic writers around the world as they celebrate their favorite Gothic TV soap opera and help keep its spirit alive.

Don’t forget to tip your author, which means leave a comment or review when possible. Think of them as a bartender who isn’t charging you for drinks.


Marie Maginity is the author of the six-part Willie Loomis World Series, and writes under the names Mad Margaret and Lizzie Bathory. She has a BA in Theatre and works as a professional actor, director and drama teacher. She has had many “straight” jobs, including bartender, gas station jockey, graphic artist, website designer, facepainter and film projectionist. Once, she bullshitted her way into a newspaper job as a reporter and, over the next eight years, became a copy editor, feature writer and assistant editor. She lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia with one husband, two daughters and two cats.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

DARK SHADOWS news, notes and assorted weirdness



* Above is a video of the 1795 storyline of DARK SHADOWS,  re-enacted with a quickness. You're welcome. (Thanks to Shadows on the Wall for the tip.)


* DOCTOR MABUSE, which features Jerry Lacy, Lara Parker and Kathryn Leigh Scott, is now available for rent on VIMEO. The sequel, DOCTOR MABUSE: ETIOPOMAR, will debut April 30 in Los Angeles. Click HERE for more details on that screening.


* BIG FINISH has launched a new Twitter feed dedicated to its line of DARK SHADOWS audiodramas. Go follow them!


You can find the Twitter feed here: https://twitter.com/darkshadowsbfp

* Speaking of BIG FINISH, here's a review of their most recent DARK SHADOWS release, CARRIAGE OF THE DAMNED. Read it HERE.




* THE AV CLUB has a well-reasoned response to the wave of Johnny Depp backlash. The writer manages not to mention DARK SHADOWS. Read it HERE.


* Finally, Hermes Press has announced it is publishing DARK SHADOWS: THE COMPLETE NEWSPAPER DAILIES AND SUNDAYstrips in hardcover. Expected to be released in September, the book is now available for pre-order from Amazon. (I'd expect the cover art to change between now and publication.)


Monday, April 21, 2014

The DARK SHADOWS convention season begins!



Can't attend the annual DARK SHADOWS FESTIVAL in June? Never fear! You've got a few more chances this summer to meet some of the stars of the original series, because they have personal appearances set to take place around the country throughout the rest of the year. See that little tab at the top right that reads EVENTS? Click on it for a full list of public appearances from DARK SHADOWS cast members in 2014. (Or just click HERE if it happens to be closer to your mouse pointer.)

Representatives for The Collinsport Historical Society will be appearing at some of these events during the summer. And by "representatives," I mostly mean myself. I'll be getting the convention seasons started May 3 at SCRATCH N SPIN RECORDS in Columbia, S.C., as part of Free Comic Book Day. SCRATCH N SPIN also has a robust selection of monthly comics, and is the store where I currently buy my books. I'll have copies of The Collinsport Historical Society's MONSTER SERIAL for sale. Space permitting, I might even have a few items from my DARK SHADOWS memorabilia collection on display. Stop by and say hello!

The Collinsport Historical Society's next stops will be at ConCarolinas on the weekend of May 30 (an event which will also feature Kathryn Leigh Scott and Lara Parker) in Charlotte, N.C., followed by MonsterCon on the weekend of July 18 in Greenville, S.C. Sharon Smyth Lentz will be making of first South Carolina convention appearance at MonsterCon.

- Wallace McBride 

UPDATE!

SCRATCH N SPIN RECORDS is adding additional guests to FREE COMIC BOOK DAYS EVENTS on May 3. Here's who else you can expect to meet:

Sean McGuinness is better known as THAT GODZILLA GUY. I first met him a few weeks back at Mad Monster Party in Charlotte, N.C., where his Kaiju art caught my attention. One of his pieces is currently on display at my favorite restaurant, THE KRAKEN. You can find him on Facebook.

Laura Buff makes one-of-a-kind, fully poseable dolls and figures including props and clothing, which you can find HERE. She also draws chibi characters on art cards.

Chad Bowers is a comic book writer, and co-creator of the Oni Press graphic novel, DOWN SET FIGHT and the Monkeybrain Comics series SUBATOMIC PARTY GIRLS (with Chris Sims). He lives in South Carolina with his wife and son, and co-hosts the weekly comics game show podcast The Hour Cosmic. His favorite Beryllium Steel album is Leather Dominators (Vol. II). Follow him on twitter at @ChadBowers.

Chris Sims is a comic book writer and critic from South Carolina. He is the writer and co-creator of DRACULA THE UNCONQUERED and the co-writer (with Chad Bowers) of AWESOME HOSPITAL and the Oni Press graphic novel DOWN SET FIGHT. He enjoys pro wrestling and sandwiches, both frequent topics on Twitter @theisb.

William Suddeth is an up-and-coming artist making his first Free Comic Book Day appearance as a guest. He studied art at Mid-Carolina Tech and will be doing free sketches and selling prints of his other artwork.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The spirit of DARK SHADOWS lives on in RAGGED ISLE


It's an amazing world in which we live. Just a few years ago, aspiring musicians, filmmakers, writers and artists needed a faceless business interest sign off on their work before it could reach a large audience. Even a film like THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, famously made for a modest $25,000 (depending on who you ask) required Artisan Entertainment to spend $1.1 million to acquire it ... and another $25 million to promote it.

Today, all that stands between a creator and their potential audience is time, money and talent. Unfortunately, it's that last element that continues to confound people: Far too many creators today have the opportunity to display their mediocrity before an uncaring world. I wonder how many future careers will end before they truly begin, thanks to the waning health of our corporate watchmen. It seems like a fair trade, in my opinion, but that lack of an editorial filter has created a fair amount of cultural chaos. Today, there's so much entertainment fighting for our attention that it's almost impossible to stand out in a crowd.

Which brings me to RAGGED ISLE, an independent webseries produced by husband-and-wife team  Barry Dodd and Karen L. Dodd. I've known about this show for a while, but wasn't able to muster the courage to visit it. Watching independent films can be an awkward experience. If you're lucky, you might discover something like Kevin Smith's first film, CLERKS, a cheaply made flick with weak acting that is ultimately worth more than the sum of its parts. On a bad day, you'll get something like Kevin's Smith's JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK. Or DOGMA. Or ... well, you probably see my point.

RAGGED ISLE is certainly a mixed bag, but has far more working for it than against it. Based on the first 11-minute episode, it's a professionally made, gorgeously shot production that's free of the bleak narcissism seen too often in independent filmmaking. I'm stunned by the photography, which is beautifully framed and lit throughout. It might sound like a backhanded compliment to harp on a technical aspect of the show, but this is really good work. Movies and television are visual media, and its incredibly important how a story reaches the eye. The photography of this episode is more than just pretty; it's used to establish the setting as its own character, much in the same way TWIN PEAKS did decades ago. RAGGED ISLE isn't the work of hacks.

While there are a few visual nods to TWIN PEAKS in the first episode, it's safe to speculate that the spiritual inspiration for RAGGED ISLE is DARK SHADOWS. The series begins with the arrival of its heroine Vicki Burke (yes, really) to the rural town of "Ragged Isle," located 21 miles off the coast of Maine. A journalism student, Burke has taken a job with a newspaper at Ragged Isle. Her twin brother, Eric, also works in the town on a lobster boat. The first episode ends on a note of mystery when one of Eric's shipmates gets pulled overboard during a nighttime trawl, but appears changed after being rescued.


RAGGED ISLE isn't perfect, and suffers from the same problems as most independent productions ... specifically the acting. I'd be a lot harsher if the show was a mainstream television feature and the cast were getting $40,000 each an episode. I don't think anybody's getting rich off RAGGED ISLE at the moment, so there's no need for me to be an asshole. In short, the acting can be a little stiff and amateurish. That's not to say it's bad, but the cast's lack of experience shows. Hopefully, these kinks will work themselves out as the series progresses.

That being said, I liked what I saw in RAGGED ISLE. There's room for improvement, but that's true for everything.

RAGGED ISLE is now in it's third online season. The first season runs ten episodes, spanning 1 hour and 47 minutes, the length of a feature film. All 19 episodes are available at the show's official website, as well as YouTube.

The series theme is also available for sale on Amazon for 99 cents.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Dark Shadows! Dracula! Doctor Mabuse!


Tickets still are available for this “DDD Double Feature” – “Dark Shadows, Doctor Mabuse, and Dracula” all together on one movie screen!

The event will feature two films, 4 four Dark Shadows guests in audience Q&A and autograph/photo sessions, memorabilia for sale, a charity auction of Dark Shadows items, a surprise Dark Shadows screening, and more.

The event begins 6:15 p.m., Wednesday, April 30, at the Vista Theatre in Los Angeles.

"Doctor Mabuse: Etiopomar” is the sequel to “Doctor Mabuse,” which starred DS actors JERRY LACY, LARA PARKER, and KATHRYN LEIGH SCOTT. They reprise their roles and are joined by CHRIS PENNOCK in “Doctor Mabuse 2: Etiopomar ” Written and directed by ANSEL FARAJ, this is its world premiere. JERRY, LARA, CHRIS, and ANSEL will attend and be available for free autographs and photo opportunities with fans.

“Dracula” was a 1974 movie by “Dark Shadows” creator/producer Dan Curtis and stars Academy Award winner Jack Palance. Considered one of the most accurate adaptations of the iconic Bram Stoker novel, Dan’s version is newly remastered and is being shown on an American movie screen for the first time.

Dark Shadows Music Composer ROBERT COBERT also joins us as we celebrate his upcoming 90th birthday. He was the music composer for “Dracula” and will be available to autograph the debuting “Dracula” soundtrack CD.

Merchandise for “Dark Shadows,” “Mabuse,” and the “Dracula” soundtrack CD will be available for purchase. The evening will conclude with a surprise DS screening.

The event is at the Vista Theatre, 4473 Sunset Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90027  323-660-6639.

Tickets are $15 per person.

You can pay using PayPal, or by check or money order sent by postal-mail.

To pay via PayPal, the recipient email address is ShadowGram@aol.com

To pay by postal-mail:
Please make check / money order payable to:   ShadowGram.
Please include a SASE (Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope) and send to:

ShadowGram
Marcy Robin
P.O. Box 1766
Temple City, CA 91780-7766

Advance order tickets must be received no later than April 23. Those who purchase their tickets in advance will receive a special DARK SHADOWS gift at the “Movie Night.”

Tickets also will be sold at the door.

DARK SHADOWS audiodramas nominated for SCRIBE award


Congratulations to Mark Thomas Passmore and Cody Quijano-Schell, who have been nominated by The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers for their work on Big Finish's DARK SHADOWS audiodramas in this year's SCRIBE AWARDS.

DARK SHADOWS: THE PHANTOM BRIDE and DARK SHADOWS: THE FLIP SIDE face off against a third Big Finish audiodrama, BLAKE'S 7: THE ARMAGEDDON STORM, by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright, in the "Best Audio" category.

Passmore and Quijano-Schell discussed DARK SHADOWS last year on the The Collinsport Historical Society Podcast. Passmore detailed the on-going adventures of Tony Peterson and Cassandra Blair HERE, while Quijano-Schell spoke about writing Carolyn Stoddard's last stand at The Blue Whale HERE.

The winners of this year's SCRIBE AWARDS are scheduled to be announced in July during Comic-Con International in San Diego, Calif.

Last year's winner in the audio category was also a DARK SHADOWS release: THE ETERNAL ACTRESS, written by Nev Fountain.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS added to Warner Archive Instant


It was only a matter of time: The always controversial NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS has been added to Warner Archive Instant.

Before we go any further, let me point out that this appears to be a high-definition version of the film's theatrical cut. While different sites list various running times for NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS (Warner Archive Instant says the film is 97 minutes long, while Amazon and IMDB believe the film to be 95 minutes) those variations do not suggest the missing 20-30 minutes have been restored to this new digital version. I don't think many people were expecting that to be the case, but it's likely to be a question on many people's minds.

While it plays fast and loose with the rules, NIGHT is a direct sequel to HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS, which hit Warner Archive Instant just a few days ago. While I love what Warner Archive Instant is doing, I own just about every release of both HOUSE and NIGHT, and don't feel the need to purchase another edition of these films. If any of you have had a look at these versions, I'd love to hear what you think about them.

Meanwhile, if you want to know what was cut from NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS (and, just as importantly, why it was cut) check out our podcast about the film. Archivist Darren Gross explains the last-minute cuts made to the movie in 1971, as well as the process of finding and restoring the as-yet unreleased footage. Listen to the podcast HERE.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Podcast: THANK GOD IT'S FRID-DAY


As was announced last week, Jonathan Frid is one of nine nominees for this year's CINEPLEX LEGENDS AWARD from Canada's Walk of Fame.

This isn’t something that happened by chance. Volunteers Elena Nacanther, Cathy Robbins and Kathy Colby have been working for more than a year to get the late Canadian actor recognized by the national Walk of Fame organization. They’ve earned press notices for their work in both the U.S. and Canada for their efforts, where they’ve made their case for Jonathan Frid’s merits in print, radio, blogs and podcasts. They even created posters that were displayed around old Frid’s old stomping grounds in Ontario.

Earlier this week, Elena continued the quest to get her late friend included on Canada’s Walk of Fame by speaking with Scott Thompson at CHML Radio in Hamilton.

Listen to the episode streaming above, or download it as an MP3 by clicking HERE.

And subscribe to THE COLLINSPORT HISTORICAL SOCIETY podcast on iTunes for free by clicking HERE

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Barnabas Collins is a nut job


Just when I thought the David Henesy cereal commercial would be the most unusual thing I'd see all week ...

Artist Steve Casino paints detailed portraits on peanut shells. His subjects range from fictional characters and celebrities (such as the Barnabas Collins piece above) to custom works created for specific clients. (In other words, they're for sale.) I asked Steve about how he created the Barnabas Collins piece, and here's what he had to say: 
"I grew up on Dark Shadows so this was fun to do.

"A peanut is used as the canvas.  After figuring out who I'm going to paint (in this case, a D.S. fan hired me) I find a peanut that is close to the shape of the person.  Mainly I look for a face shape in relation to the lower body.  After that I crack it open, take out the nuts and re-glue it, sealing the inside to make it last.  I smooth the bumpy texture with wood filler.  The legs are bamboo skewers and the hands/cape are dense foam.  The cane is a toothpick.  The whole thing is assembled with a strong archival-quality glue and is very durable. The final piece is sealed in an acrylic coating then mounted inside a hand-blown glass dome to preserve it." 
I've included a few more examples of his work below, which might be relevant to your interests.

You can find Steve online at http://stevecasino.com, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/painterofnuts.





Tuesday, April 1, 2014

David Henesy hustles Sugar Coated Rice Krinkle cereal




I don't even know where to begin ...

Yes, that's David Henesy of DARK SHADOWS in the video above, which was a TV spot for Post's discontinued Sugar Coated Rice Krinkle cereal. It's incorrectly dated on Youtube as a "1950s" commercial (it was probably filmed not long before the premiere of DARK SHADOWS in 1966), but that's the least of its sins. The most noticeable problem is the odious presence of So-Hi, the mascot for Rice Krinkles. I suggest reading Gene Luen Yang's graphic novel AMERICAN BORN CHINESE to wash the taste out of your mouth.

Speaking on mouths: How did the generation before mine make it out of the '60s with any teeth and/or Type I Diabetes? Cereal and candy companies used to operate with the ethics of drug dealers. And not those cool drug dealers from PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, either. I mean those cutthroats from THE WIRE.

Anyway, folks. David Henesy.

(Thanks to Lynn Hontz Scherzinger for the link!)
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