Great small businesses: @latetothepartypeople !

This week I interviewed a great small business: @latetothepartypeople!

  1.  Why did you want to start a business?

“Starting a business is always something that I’ve been interested in. Over the years I’ve managed several brands where I really learned all the aspects of running a small business. You need to be able to wear many hats when you’re getting things off the ground. When I made the decision to start Late to the Party I knew I was ready. “

2. How did you come up with your business name? 

“For some reason this was so hard for me! I landed on Late to the Party (LTTP) for a variety of reasons. First, I always tend to be a juicy 15 minutes late to things and second, I was getting this business started a little later in my career. Plus I just think it’s an endearing phrase.”

3. Where do you find the fabrics when creating your pieces? 

“This is probably one of my favorite parts of the process. I’m a lifelong thrifter. My mother was an antique dealer and would take me with her when looking for treasures. I would comb the racks of clothing and linens while she was busy looking for furniture and housewares. To be honest, it planted this seed in me and I became addicted to the thrill of the hunt. There’s something really satisfying about finding interesting textiles in unexpected places vs going and buying them in a traditional fabric store. I find all my fabrics in thrift stores, estate sales, flea markets etc. I like to think that the fabrics find me. I then adopt them, take them home, and give them a new life.”

4. What is the most popular item in your store? Why it is so popular?

“I would definitely say our hats! I’ve done 2 drops of the hats and they have sold out in 24 hours both times. I think it’s really appealing to people because it’s this classic silhouette but elevated with an unexpected vintage print. They are something that you can wear all year long and they work for all genders and ages.”

5. What is your favorite pattern that you created so far and why?

“I’m a textile designer by trade but most of the fabrics I use for LTTP are vintage. I am partial to 70’s florals. Growing up my room was covered in the same floral print down to the bedspread, wallpaper, lamp shade and curtains. It really burned an impression into my brain and I think I’ve been searching for the perfect floral to cover every surface with ever since.”

6. Do you have any exciting news or events that you would like to share?

“After a lot of searching and trial and error I have found a production team that will be helping me with the hat production. It will make it possible for me to do bigger drops more often. I’m really excited about this!”

If you would like more information. The following contact information is below:

Instagram: @latetothepartypeople

Website: https://shoplatetotheparty.com/

Welcome to the Insta-hood: @davidarquette!

I had the pleasure of interviewing @davidarquette about Bozo the Clown ( @realbozotheclown )

  1. What was your first memory about Bozo the clown?

“My first memory of Bozo the Clown was from when i was a kid in Evanston Illinois sometime around 1975. I watched him all the time and was amazed by the silliness and joy the WGN Bozo (Bob Bell) brought me.”

Bob Bell

2. Why is Bozo the clown so memorable to you? 

“I loved Bozo’s relationship with Cookie. I loved the pie fights and of course the Grand Prize Game. I always wanted to be on the show and win a bike and chest filled of toys. There was a silliness that was infectious.”

“I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Bozo is also a fine artist. This piece is called BOZOO. It was painted with the help of the families that stopped by our tent at the Bob Baker Day celebration.”

3.  What inspired you to buy the rights to Bozo the clown?

“It took me 15 years to acquire the rights to Bozo the Clown but it was something I worked my whole life to accomplish. I really want to help bring kind clowns back. I hope people can cultivate that silly kindness again.  Often comedy feels mean spirited to me so I’d love to see some just plain ridiculous fun. I also want to use the brand as a force for good supporting incredible charities like Healthy Humor.”

“My son Charlie in a Bozo shirt available through Bozo.com  and https://www.belowthecollar.com/. “

4. What new things or upcoming events are you planning to do with Bozo the clown

“We have been working on a documentary that has the goal of helping to bring the focus back on the silly happy kind clown.

That’s the new Bozo crew Jozo Bozo (Jessica Harris) NüNü (Gabe Dell) Bozo and Kenon Walker

We introduced the first female Bozo the Clown Jozo and she has been incredible. We are working on music with Graham Wheeler, developing a cartoon with NüNü (Gabe Dell) and Dwayne Colbert, and a new stage/gameshow. We have a wonderful new toy from Handmade by Robots that should be ready soon. Not to mention The Grand Prize Game is also coming to stores near you once again!”

5. Who is your personal favorite version of Bozo the clown?

“I loved Bob Bell as Bozo but I also fell in love with Lou Jacobs at the same time seeing him at The Ringling Brothers Circus. He is a historic clown and I always thought they were all part of the same clown world and in a way they are. At least they are in my heart.

But my favorite clown is me and your favorite clown should be you so “let your clown out!”

If you would like more information. The following contact information is below:

@realbozotheclown

Instagram:

@davidarquette

Website: http://bozo.com/

Thank you so much David for the interview!!!!

Until next time! 🙂

 Welcome to the insta-hood: @murdershetoldpodcast !

This week I interviewed @murdershetoldpodcast !

  1. Tell me a little about yourself.

“My name is Kristen Seavey and I’m a professional actor, a true crime podcast creator, credentialed victim’s advocate and a lover of vintage.

I grew up in a small town in central Maine around a lot of antiques (my parent’s living room has an old Coca-Cola cooler they found at the dump and restored, and a Texaco gas pump, among other things), and was taught to have an appreciation for history, so this probably planted the seeds for my love of all things retro!

I also grew up watching shows like Unsolved Mysteries and Are you Afraid of the Dark, and have been interested in true crime, ghosts, and mysteries since I was a kid. I remember on school vacations and in the summer, my cousin and I would sneak upstairs at our grandmother’s house to watch back-to-back episodes of Unsolved Mysteries before returning to play. I’m pretty sure we knew that whole series by heart we watched it so many times. Same goes with Are You Afraid of the Dark? We would watch that show every day it was on, even if some episodes gave us nightmares (looking at you, Ghastly Grinner).

Working as a Flapper Dancer

When I was young, I started performing doing theater (and I couldn’t get enough of it). I begged my mom to take me to every community theater in the area to do their shows. It was no surprise to anyone that when I was 18, I moved to NYC to pursue acting and go to school for theater.

“On the set of 90’s set Discovery ID mini-series”

As a professional actor I’ve been in indie movies, television, commercials, theater, and wayyyy to much Discovery ID. I also started writing plays as a teenager, and wrote a few plays that got produced in NYC and one of them is published. I still continue to work as an actor today. That will always be a permanent part of me, no matter what space I’m in. Another fun fact is that I’m also a lindy hop/swing dancer, and I got into podcasting around 2018.

When the pandemic hit, I came back up to Maine for what I thought would be the summer of 2020 (spoiler: it’s been much longer than that!) and wanted to start a podcast, so I started working on the concept for Murder, She Told podcast in September of 2020 and I’ve pretty much been focusing my energy on that since.”

2.  How did you come up with the podcast name: Murder She Told?

“It was actually a bit of a challenge to figure out a name. It’s hard (especially in the true crime space) to come up with a name that’s not already taken. From the beginning, I also knew I wanted to build a brand, so it had to feel like it fit. I knew I wanted to have a heavy focus on cases in my home state of Maine and the surrounding New England area, and as somebody who loves vintage and retro, I knew I wanted the branding to reflect that.

I think I played with keywords, brainstormed, and slept on possible combinations for a month until one day it dawned on me that Murder, She Wrote—the beloved 1980’s tv show starring Dame Angela Lansbury as mystery writer Jessica Fletcher—was set in a fictional town in Maine called Cabot Cove. I immediately looked it up to see if somebody was using a spoken version of the title, and while there were a few using “spoke”, nobody was using “told”. I looked to see if the domain was available (and it was) and I think I said out loud “That’s it. That’s the show!” and bought the domain on the spot. When the show launched in December of 2020, I applied for a trademark and finally got my certificate back this summer.

I’ve had a lot of people tell me they grew up watching re-runs of Murder, She Wrote with their grandmother and it’s really special to see them connecting to Murder, She Told as well. (Although sometimes people do get the names mixed up!)

Everything down to the colors is carefully chosen. I wanted the vibe of the branding to tap into retro nostalgia (whether you grew up in the time period or not). When we did the logo design, I found a font I wanted that gave a 70’s/80’s vibe, and pulled the color palette straight off an old Burger King ad.

The show’s instagram (@murdershetoldpodcast) is a good example of the vibe and brand palette. I didn’t just want to share the logo over and over or straight promos for episodes, I wanted to share the episodes via fun candid photos I’m given from a family that capture their loved one, or just fill in with vintage photos from New England. I’m a sucker for a good retro candid.”

3. What made you want to start the podcast? 

“As a professional storyteller, I always go as deep as I can learning about my character and digging into their life; their passions, their flaws, all the things that make them human. I wanted this same element to apply to my research and storytelling for the podcast, too. A victim’s story doesn’t start with their murder. There is SO much more to their life that you just don’t hear.

I also just wanted people to care about the victim more than just “a crazy story I heard on a podcast”. There’s just so much focus on the killers in a lot of these shows, so I wanted to create something more empathetic and ethical because these are real people who lost their lives, and real people still feel the impact of their loss today.

Also, who better to learn about the victims and dig deeper into who they were when they were alive, than the people who actually knew them? A lot of these cases didn’t get the coverage that somebody like Gabby Petito or JonBenét Ramsey did. They maybe had a couple very straightforward articles in a local paper that’s now only available in archives, and that’s it. This doesn’t give me much to work with, so, I work with a lot of families to help tell the story.

I also wanted to make sure I was doing it “right”, so I took college courses to get credentialed as a victim’s advocate. I wanted to make sure I had the tools to confidently take care of people because the conversations we’re having is re-living their trauma, and there’s a really delicate way to do that that goes beyond being naturally empathetic and compassionate.

I started preparing in September of 2020, learned how to do the technical stuff and taught myself how to edit, and launched the show in December of 2020! I had no idea what to expect, but the expectations were low since I knew how hard it was to grow a show. But those low expectations have since been buried by such an incredible response.

We’re now approaching 2 years and I’m just incredibly grateful for many reasons. First, I never had any inkling it would have as many listeners worldwide tuning in. I think it speaks to the impact these stories are making on people that you don’t have to be from New England to connect with them. I’m very grateful for the people coming back to listen, the families who trust me with their story, and the people who choose to engage with empathy and consume more ethical true crime.

I’m also really grateful for the community. I’ve been lucky to connect with some incredible creators who are just really good people making great shows that care. And finally, I’m grateful for the small team helping behind the scenes. We have a great little group who believes in this show, and it really means a lot.

Murder, She Told is approaching the 2-year anniversary and now has over 60 episodes that are all deep dives on cases, even if they’re on the shorter side. We search for every tiny detail we can manage to find when working on episodes, and also have pretty cool blogs on murdershetold.com that have a lot of photos shared with us by the family that you won’t find anywhere else. This is only the beginning. I have a lot of hopes for the future for this show.

I’m really proud of the work that’s being done on Murder, She Told. I think it’s contributing to a better future for true crime, a safer space for families to tell their story, and have the victim’s lives be at the center of the story and not their killer. It also promotes advocacy that you can do at home if you want to be an active listener and not just a consumer. Things like signing a petition, or sharing a post on social media.

So, if you’re looking for a true crime podcast that features cases you’ve never heard of before doesn’t exploit victims of crime, check out Murder, She Told!”

4. Out of all of the cases you have covered so far: Is there one or two that has stuck with you? If so, why did it leave a lasting impression?

As cliché as it sounds, all of the cases I’ve worked on have a deep impact on me. We worked really intimately with the families of the victims, and I’m a natural empath, so I feel really connected to them. I want people tuning in to care about them when they listen to the episode.

However, there are 2 cases that I’m a little more involved with outside of the episodes we’ve produced, and that is Danielle Bertolini and Reeves Johnson.

Danielle Bertolini

Danielle was a childhood friend of mine who grew up in central Maine, and in February of 2014, she was murdered in Humboldt County, California. She was picked up in a car in the Swains Flat area of Fortuna by a man named James “Jim” Jones and was never seen again. About a year later her remains were found deep in the woods by the Eel River.

Just before Danielle went missing, another woman went missing named Sheila Franks. The common denominator? Jim Jones. Her remains weren’t found until 2019 in the same area where Danielle was found.

Her case didn’t get that much media attention, and I think it’s mostly because the area is known for its marijuana, and because Danielle had a substance abuse disorder. Jim Jones has been named as a person of interest in the case, but the case remains “unsolved.”

I wanted to highlight her life in a compassionate and complex way, and have her mother tell her story (which is so heartbreaking and poignant. Billie Jo’s interview is incredibly powerful). I wanted people to walk away from the episode and remember Danielle for her humor and curiosity, and the joy she brought to others— not just that she was a young woman with an addiction who was murdered. I wanted them to feel like they knew her as a person and care about the fact a killer has not been brought to justice. They both deserve justice. All victims of unsolved violent crimes do, no matter what their history is.

I started a petition that launched with the episode to push the Humboldt County DA to—at a minimum—reinterview people and provide a public update on the case, because there hasn’t been one since Sheila’s remains were confirmed in 2019.

To listen to this episode click here: https://www.murdershetold.com/episodes/danielle-bertolini

That petition is still live and you can sign it at change.org/danielleandsheila

Reeves Johnson

Last Know photo of Reeves Johnson (’82)

The Reeves Johnson missing persons case is super unique for me because I’m actually working on the investigating team with the police. Detective Brian Cummer of the Kittery Police Dept is handling the case, and we’re working with him to help try and solve this almost 40-year-old mystery.

The timeline on this one is super complicated, but here’s the nutshell:

Reeves Johnson was a 31-year-old man living in Kittery, ME and working in Exeter NH. In February 1983 he left work, and nobody he knew ever saw him again.

In the weeks after his disappearance, despite the fact he was extremely frugal, his check book was used for large and extravagant purchases, and his account was eventually drained. His cabin in Kittery was also emptied of valuables, but there was no direct evidence of foul play and Reeves was an adult, so at the time, the police could only do so much.

Three weeks after his disappearance, his parents did a stakeout of the post office where he had a PO box hoping Reeves would come pick up his final check, and an unknown man with a key to the mailbox came in and stole the check.

His mother confronted him, and the man said Reeves was in Portsmouth NH and then fled. She snapped a photo of him before he left the post office, but when she developed the film, she realized he’d put his hand up and blocked his face completely.

There has been no trace of Reeves since 1983. The investigation was dormant until October 2021 when Detective Cummer (who is just a truly lovely person) decided to reopen the case.

In November 2021 we were given complete access to the case files, and permission by the family and police chief to use them. We produced an episode with the family, and helped get Reeves’ name circulating again and that photo out there. Prior to October 2021, Reeves Johnson was virtually unknown to everyone except his family and Detective Cummer.

Presenting at a Press Conference for Reeves Johnson

Since then, we’ve collaborated to announce a $6,000 reward, hosted a community event, gotten a bunch of press on the case, organized a street team to hand out flyers, and I did a talk on the case at the True Crime Podcast Festival in Texas. We’re also currently brainstorming how to keep his name out there and trying to connect with the right people.

I think these two cases come to mind just because I’ve spent so much time initiating things outside of the podcast to push for answers. All of my unsolved episodes have calls to action that people listening at home can do (sharing it etc.) but these two I’ve put more time into outside advocacy. I wish I could do this with all of them. One day I’d love to be able to.

There are so many other unsolved cases I can think of that have a deep impact on me. The unsolved ones really have my heart. I will never stop fighting for those cases, especially the ones that don’t get as much attention from media. Even though I know not everyone likes hearing stories that don’t have an ending, I feel like I’m helping make a difference by keeping these cases out in the spotlight to hopefully get it one step closer to having that ending it desperately deserves.”

To listen to this episode, click here: https://www.murdershetold.com/reevesjohnson

5. How come someone contribute or donate to your podcast?

“There are so many free (and easy!) ways to support any podcast you love. Trust me when I say the indie creators are especially grateful.

Sharing the show or an episode on social media and telling a friend is a great way to support. Word of mouth referral is really important. You can also leave a nice review on Apple Podcasts, or ratings on many platforms. (As somebody with a words of affirmation love language, these are super meaningful).

If you wanted to be extra generous and support the show with a donation, I have links to Paypal and Buy Me a Coffee at murdershetold.com/support. Running a podcast in this capacity gets pretty expensive, and everything gifted from listeners goes back into the show and really helps me offset these costs. Eventually we’ll have ads to help with this too and hopefully a low cost “ad-free” patron support platform. All of this supports my goal of one day being able to financially give back, and also be able to pay a team and keep this show up and running. It’s a full-time job (more like overtime job), and I don’t think people realize that sometimes.

There are also a few affiliate links such as Amazon where Murder, She Told gets a tiny commission when you shop through the link (at no extra cost). That’s another free way to support the show. Finally, if anyone wants to submit a case, send in feedback or say hi, there’s a contact form on the website or you can email me at hello@murdershetold.com I read every email and also try to personally answer them as well (though I do admit I’m a bit behind right now).”

To support the pod info is here: https://www.murdershetold.com/support

6. Do you have any exciting news or events that you would like to share?

“I’m going to be in Atlanta doing a live show on December 3rd with a few other amazing podcasts that I’m super excited about! I’ll also be returning to the True Crime Podcast Festival next August in Austin, TX. Hopefully a few more live shows with friends will pop up in between!

Other than that, we’re working hard behind the scenes on a few super cool projects. We’ve gone pretty deep on a lot of the longer-term ones we’ve been working on. A Lot of courthouse and records dives, and unique things that haven’t been done on the show before.

Totally unrelated, but I’ll leave you with this: The public has the power to help solve certain cold cases, and never underestimate the power of social sharing. There are a lot of cases that don’t have DNA waiting to be matched, and need people to come forward. You didn’t know Reeves, weren’t alive in 1983, and you’re not from the Kittery/Portsmouth area? That’s okay! Somebody you’re connected with on Facebook or Instagram might be, or might know somebody who was. Those tiny connections are things (in cases like Reeves) we are hoping for; That somebody will see Reeves’ poster and contact us to say “Hey! I knew him really well. How can I help you?”

Also, if you have information on a case, never assume the police also have that information. You might be holding onto something that seems meaningless or trivial that could be the key they need to get an arrest.”

You can find Murder, She Told on any podcast platform and on Instagram @murdershetoldpodcast.

Learn more at murdershetold.com.

Murder, She Told is created and hosted by Kristen Seavey (@KristenSeavey)

If you would to learn, here is some additional resources:

Email: hello@murdershetold.com

Website: https://www.murdershetold.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/murdertold

Facebook: Murder, she told

Tik tok: @murdershetold

Some scary movies to watch!

It’s no surprise that my preferred genre of movies is horror. So if you are in the mood to watch some scary movies. Here are five of my movie recommendations for the month of October!:

Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) directed by Peter Weir. Starring Rachel Roberts and Jacki Weaver. This is one of the few movies that truly haunts my dreams after I finish watching it. It is also one of my favorite movies and I like to revisit is every couple of years. It is about a group of girls from a private school that go on a day trip on Valentine’s Day. They spend the day at a rock formation called Hanging Rock but some weirdness happens during their visit there which sets the tone for the rest of the movie.

This movie is available to buy from the Criterion Collection: https://www.criterion.com/films/565-picnic-at-hanging-rock

Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988) directed by Tony Randel and starring Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, and Doug Bradley

So I know a lot of people enjoy the first Hellraiser movie however something about the second movie for me leaves a more memorable impression. It is a continuation of the first movie but I feel like it explains more of the story of the first one. Also I adore the visual effects in this movie!

You can buy or rent it from Youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guGNo3UvN3o

Blood and Black Lace (1964) Directed by Mario Bava:

High fashion, rich colors and horror what more can someone ask for? When director Mario Bava made this movie it was the start of the Giallo genre. One of my prefer horror genres! The youtube video above is the whole movie to watch! 🙂

Basket Case (1982) directed by Frank Henenlotter. Starring Kevin Van Hentenryck and Belial.

Frank Henenlotter is one of my favorite movie directors. He has created some of the most iconic (to me at least!) horror monsters. So it is no surprise that Basketcase made this list. Fun fact about this movie: Most of the movie sets from items they found in random dumpsters. Because the movie’s budget was so small that they couldn’t afford to buy any props or furniture.

Available to buy from Arrow Video: https://www.arrowvideo.com/blu-ray/basket-case/13462872.html

Santa Sangre (1989) directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky. Starring Axel Jodorowsky, Guy Stockwell, and Blanca Guerra.

This is one of my favorite movies from Alejandro Jodorowsky. It is about a circus performer turned mental patient who flees from the asylum to reunite with his mother to carry out her malevolent deeds. Fun fact about this movie. It made Roger Ebert’s “Great movie list” when it originally came out.

You can watch it on Tubi for free!!: https://tubitv.com/movies/531338/santa-sangre?start=true&utm_source=google-feed&tracking=google-feed

What horror movies have you seen this movie? Comment below!!!

Until next time!!!

Great small Businesses: @bo_barra !

This week I interviewed a great small business: @bo_barra !

  1. How did you come up with your business?

“My name is Tamara Marra, kind of like Julia Gulia from the wedding singer. Since my jewelry is inspired by 90s childhood, I wanted something that was childlike but not directly so.

It’s called Bo Barra and it’s from the Name Game song, Tamara Marra Bo-Barra Fee-Fi Fo-Farra, Tamaraaa. “

2. What are your top five favorite shows growing up and why? 

“Oh my goodness… so many. But definitely Are You Afraid of the Dark? was number one. I still watch it. I loved spooky stuff as a kid (I still do) but the storytelling was fantastic and very imaginative. I genuinely got creeped out by that show. The intro was one of those intros where you were so scared you couldn’t watch it alone so you screamed for your siblings (or mom) to come join you.  

Followed by Goosebumps, (I know, it’s a tough one). Goosebumps was an amazing show and me and my siblings were part of the Goosebumps fan club where we got cool stuff in the mail every month. The show was sillier than Are You Afraid of the Dark? but I was a huge fan of the books, thus the show, and the intro is iconic. I have the entire original book collection, and I love basically anything RL Stine, which I do reread as an adult.

Eerie Indiana. I remember being incredibly bummed out and confused when the show was canceled and I couldn’t find it on TV anymore. It’s another sort of spooky comedy-adventure show I loved. I love kids going on adventures that the parents are completely oblivious to. Also Omri Katz was super cute as a kid, and who isn’t a fan of the movie Hocus Pocus

I don’t know where this sits on my top 5 shows as a kid but it’s on my top 5 as an adult: Gargoyles. That show is incredible. Epic storytelling, epic tragedy. It’s a show you need to revisit as an adult and be wowed by. I actually have a comic I made inspired by it that I plan on sharing later. 

Last but certainly not least, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This show had a HUGE impact on my life. Mainly believing that this is what people look like when they grow up to be teens and college kids! I had pretty high expectations for myself and everyone around me for that reason. The fashion and jewelry in that show I think influenced many girls’ wardrobes. I know it influenced mine. I still want most of Buffy’s outfits and accessories, heck, even Willow’s!”

3. What items are you selling at your store?

“I’m selling handmade necklaces, earrings, and bracelets all made from rare vintage glass beads that were handcrafted in Japan. They are from the 1940s-1960s, and are incredibly beautiful, one-of-a-kind, and something that can never be produced again. I collect vintage beads, and anything that looks like slime, blood, goo, or candy, I am into.  

Gooselumps: It Came from Beneath the Bed – Necklace

I wanted to create something that was inspired by childhood but refined for adults.  All my pieces are limited edition, and made in Montréal using either 18k gold filled hardware or sterling silver. 
They are inspired by growing up in the 90s; from TV shows and movies, to books, technology, fashion, and of course, candy. So basically all the things I love! Every piece tells a story which I share along with images of the jewels. 
Gooselumps: Trick or Treat – Necklace

Do you do custom orders?

“Right now I’m selling ready-to-ship jewelry but custom orders will be open after. It’ll likely take 1 week production time, or less, depending on supply (as these are vintage and limited in quantity) + shipping which will vary based on location. I’m offering free shipping to the US and Canada with tracking, and the shipping time is 3-7 business days from Montréal, Canada.”

4. What 90’s TV or book character fits your personality the best and why? 

“Oooh what a good question! Ha is it weird if I say Chandler Bing from Friends? I am super sarcastic, but prrretty goofy and a loyal friend.”

5. Do you have any events or news that you would like to share? 

“My first collection is called GOOSELUMPS and it’s coming out Friday September 30th. The following collection is inspired by Animorphs and I’m super excited about them both!”

If you would like more information on this great small business the following contact information is below:

Instagram: @bo_barra

Website: https://bobarra.ca/password

Until next time!!! 🙂

The Clown that lived forever… kind of: The life of Achile Chatouilleu

Achile Chatouilleu image from California Institute Abnormalarts

Achile Chatouilleu was born in 1886 and came from family of circus performers in America so he decided that he continue his family’s legacy and became a clown.

His last name: Chatouilleu named is translated from French as the “The French Tickler” and from various blogs and videos I read about this performer. Achile was a horrible clown and was not the best performer however he did love what he did. Actually he loved being a clown so much that when he died in 1912 from a kidney inflammation. He made some an interesting demands in his will. He wanted to be dressed in his full clown attire from a 1906 Shriner parade that he was part of in Detroit, Michigan. His also request was to be put in full clown makeup when he died. Then he also wanted his body to be preserved in glass coffin so it can be on view for people to come visit him even after he is long gone.

His body might have been embalmed in mercury and arsenic for preservation purposes. Having those chemicals in the air will be toxic so opening up the case and examining the body would be out of the question.

Another story of his persevered body is that when no one claim the body from the mortician. A circus bought the body and made up this story. Either way it’s here and it’s a little creepy. The last known wereabouts of this body was at the California Institute of Abnormalarts but they closed in 2021. I heard Ripley’s Believe it or Not has it but I am not a 100% sure.

Here is a great youtube that talks about it a bit more in detail:

What do you think? Comment below!!!

Source: Ripley’s Believe it or Not!, wikipedia.

Artist’s Spotlight: @ghoulishgary !

This week’s artist spotlight is on the wonderful talented @ghoulishgary

  1. Tell me a little about yourself:

“I’m a full-time graphic designer and illustrator and I create original artwork and branding for films, music and magazines mostly within the horror and sci-fi realm. Many years ago I started a career in graphic design working at a packaging design firm in Toronto and gained some great corporate experience. From there I moved on to become art director for Rue Morgue Magazine during it’s formative years. It was an incredible time but after 11 years in the publishing industry I decided to start working for myself and registered Ghoulish Gary. I quickly learned what the freelance model is like but I started working with galleries, directors and big company’s that owned licensing for my favorite movies. I love the diversity of projects and working with all kinds of different people. I do conventions whenever I can which has helped my artwork get in front of collectors and fellow movie fans.”

“Gary Pullin, known to horror enthusiasts and collectors as “Ghoulish Gary,” is a leading designer in the world of alternative movie posters, vinyl record packaging, and pop culture art. His colorful signature style has graced numerous magazines including MAD, Fangoria and Rue Morgue, where he started as their original art director. He’s had his artwork featured on blu-rays, book covers, soundtracks and in galleries across the globe, created highly sought-after screenprints for the likes of Mondo, Grey Matter and album art for Waxwork Records, Death Waltz, and Varese Sarabande.”
Mondo/ Pullin

2. What was the first art piece you remember creating”

“It’s hard to pin down what my first real art piece was but I was always doodling on my notebooks in school. I would try and copy drawings from comic books or magazines. I think my first real project was when I was in Grade 8  when my home room teacher asked if I wanted to draw something for her walls. It was Halloween so she wanted me to draw Freddy Krueger and whatever else I wanted. I went to the library and to use the equipment like an overhead projector to transfer my drawing onto the paper and I finished the poster with pencil crayons and markers. I still have them.”

3. What horror movie or villain best represents your personality and why?

Mad Magazine/ Pullin

“That’s a fun question. If I think about it, I’d have to say partly Vincent Price and a bit of Alfred E. Neuman. Vincent Price because of my love of classic horror films. His voice was so uniquely his and he was everywhere when I was a kid.

Alice Cooper/ Pullin

He appeared on Alice Cooper’s Welcome to My Nightmare as “The Curator” and in the early 1970s he co-hosted a show in Canada called The Hilarious House of Frightenstein. I was hypnotized by his laugh and the eerie intro music, the 1970’s aesthetics and all of the spooky characters played by Billy Van. I chose Alfred E. Neuman because I was obsessed with MAD Magazine when I was a kid. I poured over any issue I could find. The cartoonists that were employed by the magazine have remained big influences, Al Jaffee, Sergio Argones, Don Martin and Jack Davis were influential along with other horror artists like Basil Gogos and Bernie Wrightson. And I’ve always admired Alfred’s devil-may-care attitude, as someone who can maintain a sense of humour while the world collapses around him.”

4. What is the most popular item in your store?

Jack White Poster/ Pullin

“I recently created a few posters for Jack White’s current tour and they’re doing really well. Certain bands have a big following for their gig posters so I was lucky enough to work with him and Third Man Records. If folks want to check out what I’ve got in my shop they can visit: https://store.ghoulishgary.com/

5. What is your favorite project you have worked on this year and why?

“Speaking of MAD Magazine, I was thrilled to have created my second cover for them. It was for their  “Par(AB)normal” October issue.

Magazine/ Pullin

They wanted a new image that spoofed their Poltergeist comic strip and it was a total blast to work on. The art director sent me a rough composition with the gag and I was off to the races. I’m think I’m still riding the high from the chance to work with them again.”

6. Do you have any exciting news or events that you would like to share?

” I’ve been lucky enough to work on a few exciting things this year. I recently teamed up with AMC Networks on a book jacket design (link is here to buy : Creepshow book) for Shudder’s CREEPSHOW series that will be released though Titan in October. I’ll be releasing a set of posters for The Exorcist with Bottleneck Gallery over the holiday season. I contributed to an upcoming graphic novel dedicated to the songs of Weird Al Yankovic and I’m currently working on a soundtrack and poster design for a horror film that’s been number one on my bucket list for a long time. I’m very lucky and grateful for these opportunities and I’m constantly thankful for anyone who’s ever taken an interest. And big thanks to LadyCult too for reaching out and sharing my work. Stay safe and Happy Halloween!”

If you like to learn more about Gary. The following contact is below:

Store: https://store.ghoulishgary.com/

Instagram: @ghoulishgary

Twitter: @ghouslishGary

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GhoulishGaryPullin

Thank you so much for the interview Gary!

Until next time!

Fall books 2022: A birthday wish list

As many as you know I love to read. I consider books to be one of my best friends because they can show you new things and keep you up way past your bedtime. Also my birthday is next month in October so this list is also for those who would like to get me something but have no idea what to get me. What better gift to give than the gift of reading. This list is also for those who want to start a new read but do not know what to get. Here are five recommendations:

Maryland Monster Movie Memories: Baltimore-Washington Area Horror Hosts and More! by John Carter Stell- Being from the area I felt like this was a must wish list item. Even though I was not part of the horror movie host area. I am a fond admirer of it and would like to learn more about the hosts that were in the area.

Link to buy is here: https://atomicbooks.com/products/maryland-monster-movie-memories?_pos=1&_sid=7a0a1e0ce&_ss=r

Dangerous Rhythms: Jazz and the Underworld by T.J. English: interesting in learning about the crime world during the Jazz Age. Then this is a must read!

Link to buy is here: https://www.politics-prose.com/book/9780063031418

Knock Offs Totally Unauthorized Action Figures by Brian Heiler: I am huge fan of bootleg and interesting action figures. So when I learned there was a book about it I knew I had to add this to this list!

Link to buy is here: https://atomicbooks.com/collections/cultural-general/products/knock-offs-totally-unauthorized-action-figures

Alice A Novel by Blake Butler: I was walking through a book store one afternoon and read the back of the book and it caught my attention. It reminds me a bit of an Ira Levin (who is one of my favorite authors) novel.

Link to buy is here: https://www.politics-prose.com/book/9780525535218

The Chick and the Dead: Life and Death Behind Mortuary Doors by Carla Valentine. Were you ever curious what happens after someone dies? Well this is a great read to those who want to know!

Link is here to buy: https://atomicbooks.com/collections/society-medicine-and-anatomy/products/chick-and-the-dead-life-and-death-behind-mortuary-doors

See you at San Diego: An Oral History of Comic-Con, Fandom, and the Triumph of Geek Culture by Stan Sakai and Jeff Smith. I always wanted to go Comic-Con but until then I can live vicariously through this book.

Link to buy is here: https://www.politics-prose.com/book/9781683966517

What is on your fall reading list? Please share and comment below!!!

Until next time!!

Great Small Businesses: Atomic Books!

This week I interviewed a great book store called Atomic Books !

  1. Why is the book store called Atomic Books?

“When the store name was decided on in 1992, the word “Atomic” was an ironic reference to the mid-century, Atomic/Nuclear-era of America where conformity was stressed and fear of anti-communism dominated, and the possibility of the world ending in a nuclear holocaust was an ever-present reality – a shadow we grew up under. The word “Atomic” was meant to signal the sort of underground/counter-cultural nature of the publications we carried that were pushing back against that sort of mainstream conformity and other forms of cultural colonialism and corporate sanitization of the arts. It also applied to a sort of tongue-in-cheek appreciation of a mid-century aesthetic.

Decades later, outside of that context, we get the occasional customer who asks, “What’s an ‘Atomic Book?'”

Usually, I respond, “It’s like an e-book, but more powerful.”

2. What kind of items  do you sell in the store? Is there a popular section in the store? If so, what is it?

“We carry fiction – Beats and crime being what we’re really best at.
We carry non-fiction – and our categories vary from Psychokillers to Conspiracies to Outer Limits to Strange Science to Occult.
We carry artbooks – lowbrow, tattoo and street art are what we’re mostly into.

We carry a wide array of comics and graphic novels, with our specialty being literary, underground and alternative. But we have some superhero and manga too.

But mostly we’re known for carrying zines and mini-comics (self-published periodicals).

Our aesthetic has always been counter-cultural, alternative, underground, transgressive, and experimental.
Our tag line is “Literary finds for mutated minds” if that helps give a better idea of what one might expect.”

3. Can you talk a little bit about the Atomic Book Club?

“Our book club has been going on for nearly 20 years, give or take. Basically it started with my partner Rachel Whang and I deciding that we’d like to get together with people and either get them to read some of our favorite books or get us all to read books we’ve been meaning to read.

Each year, Rachel and I decide on a topic. This usually involves lists we make throughout the year. We narrow those lists down to a couple of topics or themes, (we’ve done Cult Classics, Post-Apocalypse, Series Firsts, From Page to Screen, Short Stories, Music, etc.) and we then begin to populate it with  books. Typically, whichever list looks the most fun is the one we go with. This year, our theme of Cults has been especially popular.
When we select books, we typically choose a variety of fiction, non-fiction and comics.

We’re currently meeting the last Tuesday of the month in Eightbar, the bar in the back of our store. During COVID, we were meeting online, but we’re back to in person meetings now.”

4. If you have to pick a fall reading book list for the upcoming season: What four books would you pick and why?

“Here is a list of 10 in no particular order:

Liberation Day – George Saunders
I love short stories, and Saunders is a master.

The Passenger/Stella Maris – Cormac McCarthy
When a writer of McCarthy’s stature drops two new novels in as many months, well, it demands attention.

Weasels In The Attic – Hiroko Oyamada
I loved Hiroko’s previous book, The Hole. So I’m interested in this fictional look at gender roles and marriage in Japan.

Toad – Katherine Dunn

Dunn’s novel Geek Love is, really, the core DNA of much of our fiction section. So a previously unpublished novel from her feels like a gift.

Well of Souls: Uncovering the Banjo’s Hidden History by Kristina R. Gaddy

I love Kristina’s writing and Well of Souls looks to provide a much needed comprehensive history of this often misunderstood musical instrument.

No Justice, No Peace: From the Civil Rights Movement to Black Lives Matter by Devin Allen
Few photographers can capture the state of America as stunningly as Devin Allen.

No One Left To Come Looking For You – Sam Lipsyte
A suspense novel set in 1990s New York DIY scene – well, that’s just in my wheelhouse.

Below Ambition – Simon Hanselmann
A new book of weird stoner humor by Hanselmann.

Follow Me Down: A Reckless Book by Ed Brubaker / Sean Phillips

It’s stunning how consistently great Brubaker and Phillips’ crime comics are.

Joy Of Quitting by Keiler Roberts

Domestic comedy in the form of autobiographical comics. And Roberts’ art is terrific.

For older book recommendations – on our site we have an Atomic Canon section where we list our key, core books: https://atomicbooks.com/collections/atomic-canon

5. What is your best memory or event you have of the book store?

“We’ve been fortunate to have a number of great memories/events with the shop. But at the top of my list of favorites are always the John Waters signings. John’s fans are so great, they’re so excited, they’re so fun, and John is so great and he really enjoys meeting and interacting with them. There is so much wonderful positivity that it almost feels like it can’t be contained. Rarely do so many people, standing in line for so long, have such a good time. But they do at John Waters signings.”

6. Do you have any exciting news or events that you would like to share?

“This year, the store is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Somehow, we’ve become Baltimore’s oldest independent bookstore. So we have a number of limited edition totes and t-shirts we’ve been releasing that we’ve designed with artist friends of the store from over those 30 years. And the response to those has been overwhelming.

We have a string of events we’re hosting coming up I’m super-excited for:

October 2 – Old Line Plate: Stories and Recipes from Maryland Kara Mae Harris – Kara has this amazing Maryland food history website. She’s self-published a book based on her site. So she’s doing a talk and, hopefully, bringing some pie.

October 4 – Well Of Souls by Kristina Gaddy – we’re hosting this event at the Pratt Library. I’m very excited to see Kristina talk about her book.

October 8 – Michael DeForge & Sadie Dupuis  – comic book artist DeForge and musician and poet Dupuis return to the Atomic Books to talk comics and read poetry in our bar, Eightbar.”

If you would more information about Atomic Books. The following contact information is below:

https://atomicbooks.com/

Instagram: @atomicbooks

Until next time!!!!



Welcome to the insta-hood: @traycegigifield !

This week I interviewed @traycegigifield !

  1. Tell me about yourself:

“Hi. My name is Trayce Gigi Field and I am a native Los Angelino. I am a high energy person and am super passionate about life. I come from a multicultural background that helps me see the world through a broad perspective.  Love and be loved is my favorite mantra.”

2. What made you interested in becoming a Costume Designer/ stylist?

“My interest in becoming a Costume Designer started with wanting to know when the actors would get their clothes. I guess you can say I found out!  I went to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angles, there I was able to better understand design. I started as a Costume PA on Sabrina the Teenage Witch and worked my way up to being a Costume Designer.”

3. Who are your top 3 favorite designers and why?

“My top three fashion designers are – Alexander McQueen, for his beautifully cut pieces.  Such precision and structure. His Fashion shows were works of art that he masterfully pulled off with a flavor for decadence and the unusual.  Jean Paul Gaultier, for his unconventional designs and the Fifth Element Costume Design .  I have always felt Jean Paul understood the female body and used corsets and such to highlight a women physique. Karl Lagerfeld is probably my favorite designer of all time.  More for his presence in fashion then his designs – although I do love his designs I have always been more intrigued in the way Karl lived in the world.  The uniform he wore everyday, the gloves, his dogs, and my favorite quote (all the kids will disagree) “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life, so you bought some sweatpants.” I am sure he is rolling over in his grave with the sweatpants trend that is everywhere right now.”

4. Can you talk a little bit about your time on “A league of their Own.”? What inspiration did you have on the costume designs for the show? Was there a favorite outfit(s) you made/style that was on the series and why?

“Designing ALOTO was such a fantastic experience.  I love anything vintage and the 40s are a beautiful era for clothing.

We had over 2000 pages of reference and we poured over each one to take in and memorize what the look, fit, and feel of the clothes were.  So many different styles and silhouettes.  We took into account demographics and status, so we really understood how to authentically dress various people. I have so many favorites.”

 Custom designs for Clance and Greta were so fun to create.

 The various baseball teams were exciting too.  I really am passionate about Bertie’s clothes.  Getting them just right was so important to me. “

5. What is a random fact about yourself that not a lot of people know about you?

“I laugh like a dolphin in front of my friends love to tease me about it!”

6.  Do you have any exciting news or events that you would like to share?

“I was recently written in Fashionista.com and The Hollywood Reporter for my work on the show.  I am just wrapping a new Series titled Poker Face – starring Natasha Lyonne and directed by Rian Johnson. Its such a cool series!”

If you would like more information. The following contact information is below:

Instagram: @tracycegigifield

Thank you so much for the interview Tracyce!!!