Denise McDonald Dorman

Posts Tagged ‘Entertainment’

Client Creative Team of Ortega, Mesch, Eastman & Dorman Sells Out of Issue #1 of THE OTHER DEAD

In Book Reviews, Comics, Dave Dorman, Denise Dorman, Entertainment, Geek Culture, IDW Publishing, Pop Culture, Uncategorized on October 2, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Zombie Animals Devour The World: THE OTHER DEAD Is Sold Out at Diamond!
IDW Comic Book by Digger T Mesch, Joshua Ortega and Kevin Eastman Outperforms Expectations
PRLog (Press Release) – OCTOBER 2, 2013–LOS ANGELES, CA — Ice-cold zombies are still hot, especially in the animal kingdom, as evidenced by the sold-out, critically acclaimed comic, THE OTHER DEAD #1, by IDW. Fan demand for this zombie animal horror-fest is driving a second printing, with cover art and availability date to be determined.
Image“We’re thrilled and amazed by the outpouring of retailer, comics industry, and fan support for our first book,” said Joshua Ortega, the writer whose other credits include Gears of War and Necromancer, “and want to thank everyone for giving the book a shot. It’s definitely something different, and we’re glad its unique blend of horror and satire is really resonating with people!”“I couldn’t be happier,” said co-creator Digger T Mesch (Agent 88), “After two years of hard work, it’s great seeing the book out there, and so many people enjoying the first issue. Add all of the positive buzz on the Dave Dorman Obama cover and the Kevin Eastman variant, and man, this is just awesome.”

THE OTHER DEAD creative team will be appearing at New York Comic Con, Artists Alley, Tables Y1 and Y2 from October 10th through 13th, 2013. They will also participate in a panel, The Other Dead with Kevin Eastman: When Zombie Animals Attack, on Saturday, October 12 from 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. in Room 1A10. The panel includes Kevin Eastman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Heavy Metal magazine), Joshua Ortega (Gears of War), Digger T Mesch (Agent 88) Qing Ping Mui, Blond, and Dave Dorman (Star Wars/Alien & Predator).

For more information, interview requests, or review copies, please contact publicist Denise Dorman at denise@writebrainmedia.com.

Media Contact:
Denise Dorman | WriteBrain Media
P: 630.845.4694 | E: denise@writebrainmedia.com
Twitter: @WriteBrain Media | Facebook.com/writebrainmedia

PRAISE for THE OTHER DEAD:

“Thick with blood and guts as it is with political and social commentary, The Other Dead heads in a new direction as it ties together human fear and frailty and its effect on the environment through the collective revolt of the world’s lesser-evolved creatures. The Other Dead is attempting something a lot of comics do not: re-think the zombie mythos. That alone is worth a mention.”–Fangoria

“A unique and creepy spin on the idea (that) makes this stand out from countless other zombie stories. (Digger’s) twist, as developed by Ortega, is a brilliantly simple one that shifts the zombie plague from humankind to our furry, feathered and four-legged friends. But the writers don’t bank on that…so they develop enough of a backstory to keep readers coming back for the second issue and beyond.”– Comic Book Resources

The Other Dead is a fast-paced story that pulls you in from page one. Qing Ping Mui’s art is sharp…and everything is presented in brilliant detail. In a world of zombie overload, The Other Dead stands out from the crowd.” – Comic Book Therapy

“Ortega and Mesch wisely placed this animal reanimation within the context of the human experience separate from the reanimation…(and focus) on how the undead apocalypse would affect the living of this world that were left to pick up the apocalyptic pieces. If I haven’t entreated you with the story, perhaps I can entice you with the art, because it’s absolutely gorgeous…(and) the animals, both living and undead are gorgeously rendered.” – Ain’t It Cool News

“Joshua Ortega (Gears of War) does a bang up job with the story here…(and) it’s just as visually appealing as it is well written. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill zombie comic. It’s above and beyond anything else that’s out there. These animals are infinitely more dangerous after death than they were while alive. Stronger, faster, deadlier. There’s not much more to say except go get this series.”– Geeks of Doom

“Romero Dawn of the Dead-style political commentary…(and) given the high quality of the art and the fun-ness of this inaugural ish, I plan to stick around to see where Ortega and co. take this story.”– Bloody Popcorn

“A gritty tale drawn in every perfectly bloody detail by Qing Ping Mu. Yes, a storm is coming to Louisiana, but its bringing more than rain, this time, it’s bringing the undead.” – Fanboy Nation

Note: For all 26 THE OTHER DEAD reviews, please click here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/4z9r64pw0dtm2ri/SlRoJtw4DC

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Hollywood’s Favorite Blacksmith Tony Swatton Starring in MAN AT ARMS Webisodes for Break Media

In Burbank, Denise Dorman, Entertainment, Geek Culture, Hollywood Props, Norse Hollywood Dining Vikings, Pop Culture, Sword and Stone, Tony Swatton, Webisodes on February 11, 2013 at 2:02 pm

 Burbank, CA—February 8, 2013—Behind every movie sword and armored costume, there’s a burly Viking forging steel in an unlikely setting – The Sword and Stone weaponry boutique and blacksmith shop in Burbank. The master of ceremonies is Tony Swatton, whom Break Media wisely chose as the subject for their new Monday night webisode series, Man at Arms, which begins airing on Monday, February 11, 2013 on the new AWE ME YouTube channel:

http://www.youtube.com/aweme (AWE is an acronym for Amaze, Wow, Educate).

Tony Swatton of Break Media's Man at Arms

Tony Swatton at his Burbank blacksmith and armor shop, Sword and Stone

Swatton, the artisan genius behind the beloved Capital One Viking costumes and props, the Pirates of the Caribbean swords, the Blade from the movie of the same title, and the prop creator behind many blockbuster films, loves to share his work with the fans. “For the first time, I’m publicly lifting the veil on the mystique of it all. Look forward to seeing a lot of blood, sweat, and heavy metal,” he promised.

“We’re thrilled to give viewers a backstage pass to Tony Swatton’s highly unusual world, and the inner sanctum of Sword and Stone. Not only is Tony great entertainment value, but his craftsmanship will feed the heart of every geek and

D-I-Yer watching Man at Arms,” said Mitch Rotter, Executive Vice President of Programming, Break Media.

Scheduling Will Be As Follows:

Monday, 2/11

Episode 1: Jamie Lannister’s Sword

Mondays, 2/18, 2/25, 3/4, 3/11, and 3/18:

Episodes 2-6: *Episode order TBD

  • Oddjob’s Hat from James Bond
  • Batman’s Batarang
  • Rafael’s Weapon from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Pair of Sais
  • He-Man Sword
  • Adventure Time Sword

Swatton, who was named “Pirate of the Year” for Pirates magazine in 2010, is a renowned cosplay enthusiast and one of the fun-loving founders of the Norse Hollywood Dining Vikings, a Viking flash mob group who invade Ikeas for their Swedish meatballs, or play football games in Viking garb for charity. From his madcap Hollywood adventures to his death-defying blacksmithery, this series is truly unlike anything that’s ever been done on reality TV or webisodes.

About Sword and Stone

Founded in 1989 by master blacksmith Tony Swatton, Sword & Stone is located in Burbank, CA and has established itself as the trusted source for handcrafted, historically accurate pieces custom designed for the needs of creative directors. The shop specializes in custom-made arms, armor and props for TV, film and the serious collector. They are a full-service blacksmith shop creating only one-of-a-kind pieces—nothing at Sword & Stone is mass-produced.

About Break Media

Break Media is a leading creator, publisher, and distributor of digital entertainment content including video, editorial, and games.  The company’s properties include the largest humor site online, Break, as well as Made Man, Game Front,Holy Taco, Screen Junkies, Cage Potato, All Left Turns, Chickipedia, and Tu Vez.  The Break Media Creative Lab is an in-house production studio creating original videos that range from award-winning branded entertainment to celebrity-driven web shorts to viral one-offs. The Break Media Network represents hundreds of publishers as one of the largest video advertising networks online, reaching more than 200 million consumers each month.

– # # #  –

Media Contact:

Denise Dorman, Publicist

WriteBrain Media

O: 630.845.4694 | C: 630.215.5623

E: denise@writebrainmedia.com

Nature v. Nurture: The Apple That Didn’t Drop Far From the Tree

In Entertainment, Life Observations, WriteBrain Media on November 5, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Gentle Readers,

Most of you following me know that I’m married to a famed artist and illustrator, Dave Dorman. However, unless you grew up with me, you likely aren’t aware that I, too, was a gifted artist in my youth. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a mentor like Dave to explain to me that there was “gold in them thar mines…” or real career opportunities for artists and illustrators.  Today Dave goes to grade schools, high schools and colleges and lectures students on career opportunities for the arts. I just wasn’t that savvy.  I knew no one who did art, outside of my art teachers, and there was  no way in hell I was going to suffer that level of abuse.  (Well, I did do a 3-year stint as a Sunday School teacher and was pretty good at it, but I digress).  With the residue from too much ’70s Woodward & Bernstein influence, I ventured forth into a “safer” creative field–writing.

So jump ahead a few decades, and here Dave and I are with a six-year-old son who is clearly showing artistic ability – freakishly so – and we are occasionally flabbergasted by his burgeoning talent. Yesterday was just such an example. Our son turned six this week, and we watched him draw this image below freehand, with no reference to copy. It was simply drawn from his memory. The character he drew, Cosmo from Nickelodeon’s The Fairly OddParents, was perfect in detail, according to Dave, who is well familiar with the character.  I cannot bear to watch that painful show, so I’m no expert. So here it is. Judge for yourself if this looks like the art of a six-year-old:

Dave Dorman's Son Shows Artistic Talent at Age Six

Left to his own devices, our son will choose to sit down and draw rather than watch TV or play videogames. While we praise his efforts, we haven’t given him any formal art training. Dave has insisted we give him the freedom to find his own “voice” in his art. Dave was in his early 20s when he found his voice, and that has worked out well so far, so I’m thinking this is the best approach.  But what do I know? What do you think?

As always, thanks for reading.

Denise

Twitter.com/writebrainmedia

Linkedin.com/in/writebrainmedia

Undercover Boss…REALLY?!?

In Uncategorized on September 27, 2010 at 12:56 am

Imagine you’re earning under $50k a year,  or maybe under $30k. All of the sudden a film crew magically appears to tape you training a new employee in how to, say, clean hotel rooms, shovel shit out of horse stalls at the racetrack, or drive a garbage truck with zero time to take a pee break. Chances are, you’re co-starring in an episode of Undercover Boss. I’ve watched enough episodes to say with confidence, these on-camera CEO trainers may not be in the 39% tax bracket, but it’s no reflection on their I.Q.’s. I secretly hope they’re amping up their tales of woe just to win that promotion or raise they always seem to get at the very happy ending portion of the program. I think they’ve earned it just for willing participation in this  “city mouse-meets-country mouse” reality TV charade.

Oh, what I would give to see my BFF Christina Bouvier in an episode of Undercover Boss, training some C.E.O. in her Midwestern manufacturing plant.  With a straight face, over an Oliver Twistian lunch of water and stale Melba toast, she would spin a yarn so tragically sad that even Donald Trump, tear-soaked silk hankie in hand, would be begging her to move into his carriage house by show’s end. Within a month, she’d be living rent-free in one of his spare penthouse suites. Within six weeks, she’d be telling Trump “You’re fired!” on his own TV program. To quote Gordon Gecko, “Greed is good.”

Stainless & Granite: The Unenlightened Think It’s the New Black in Kitchen Design

In Life Observations on September 7, 2010 at 4:09 am

In some households, the cacophony of couch potatoes screaming at the flat screen might smack of football season. At our house, it means I’m watching my favorite new porn: HGTV’s House Hunters, or its skinnier, richer and even bee-yotchier sister, House Hunters International.

Today was House Hunters International’s HGTV marathon. (I guess they don’t think my ass is big enough already, so they’re adding several hours to my non-aerobic activity). Imagine my delight and surprise when interviewing world-renowned artist Scott Hampton for Dave Dorman’s & my podcast, “It’s Comic Book Day” (free on iTunes, folks!) and discovering that he, too, shares my addiction. Scott summed it up best: Who knew you could buy a chateau in the south of France for a mere $500,000?!?”

I’ve learned much from observing – and cursing out – these clueless home buyers. Are you selling a home in the near future? Take careful note. The new rules for staging homes can be summarized in a couple of bullet points:

#1. People today are way too stupid to notice the true and lovely bones of a home and the potential of its land. They will NOT see past the paint palette or wallpaper that somehow offends their precious sensibilities, so keep that wall cover neutral, folks! Just take your paint cues from some old Pottery Barn catalog (don’t worry, the catalog can be from 10 years ago and the design won’t have evolved at all) and be sure to fill a giant, useless and extravagantly expensive clear vase (say it like you’re from Connecticut and pronounce it “vaahhhzzz”) with useless balls that look like Martha Stewart rolled up some brown old grape vines after her Kobe beef herd shat on them. Wall colors can be khaki, ecru and egg shell. Don’t get too imaginative. Wall art must always be framed in black.

#2. The home could have a crumbling foundation and the most labyrynthine layout, but so long as that kitchen boasts “stainless steel appliances and granite countertops,” that home is…to quote our moronic ex-Illinois Guv Blago…”Effing GOLDEN!!!”

Every single time I see some uninformed couple walk into a kitchen and gush over stainless and granite, I scream at the TV. I’m confident Dave jests when he tells me I learned English from “longshoremen,” whatever that means. Surely Tony Robbins is intricately involved in some conspiracy…like the kitchen design lobbyists got to him, and the next brainwashing session he held down at his Fiji compound was dedicated to selling future home buyers on bad 1998 kitchen decor. Do these people just really not know what a pain in the ass it is to keep fingerprints off of stainless?!? Or how easily stainless steel appliances dent?!? Or how dated these kitchens are going to look in no time?!?

When I think of these house hunters, I can’t help but think of the lyric from The Police’s most excellent album, Synchronicity: “Packed like lemmings into shiny, metal boxes…contestants in a suicidal race.” But these house hunting lemmings are all converging toward one giant design suicide. From everything I’ve witnessed over countless episodes, home buyer individuality is deader than Paris Hilton’s welcome mat at LasVegas Wynn Properties.

All this talk of The Police has made me, in my true A.D.D. fashion, think of the hottest Baby Boomer on the planet, Sting. He should have at least a cameo role on my favorite vampire porn, True Blood. Don’t you agree?

My Crazy Friends

In Uncategorized on August 1, 2010 at 6:26 pm

Dear Gentle Readers,

My BFF Christina Bouvier calls my cadre of friends my “collection.” One of my favorite people in my treasured collection is Tony Swatton of Sword and Stone, the Burbank, CA-based company that creates those wonderful costumes and armour you see in certain Viking-style TV ads and films requiring swords, armour, etc. Aside from Tony’s amazing vision and craftsmanship for artisan metal, leather and jewelry work, what drew me to become his friend was our shared sense of humor. He is truly a kindred spirit. First, let me show you an image of Tony and his favorite model Natasha, and then I’ll explain further:

Tony Swatton, owner of Sword and Stone, Burbank, CA

Tony Swatton at San Diego Comic-Con...Vikings REPRESENT!

(BTW, Tony made the costume you see above on Natasha.)

Since Tony has plenty of Viking-like costumes lying about his shop, he calls up friends to do the Viking version of a Rave – they randomly show up dressed as Vikings at, say, the local IKEA for Swedish meatballs. Tony gets all perplexed when he’s suddenly flanked by security-type folks. He told IKEA security that he and the crew were sent there by “IKEA’s Headquarters.”

Someone could write an entire book on Tony and his wild adventures, and frankly, I’m just the author to do it.

So…Tony formed the NORSE HOLLYWOOD VIKINGS DINING CLUB. You can find this club on FaceBook. Toward the end of August, he is renting one of those amphibious Duck Boats, and they will deck out the exterior in armour, load it up with Club members donned in Viking gear, and drive it through Compton, Watts, and God knows where else, before ending up in Long Beach Harbour. I’d give my left ovary to join in on the hijinks – this is TOTALLY my cup of tea.

So Tony Swatton is just one of the eclectic folks in my ever-growing collection of friends – I blame it all on my Aquarian rising sign. If you are so moved, follow Tony’s hijinks on FaceBook and join in on the fun. I am so moved.

Denise!

Dave Dorman Interviews Alien & Predator

In WriteBrain Media on July 20, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Dear Friends,

I wrote this parody piece a while back, prior to AVP2 coming out with the “new” Predalien character, if you catch my drift. Dave did a “very similar” creature design as a work-for-hire project for 20th Century Fox years ago, and it became a little controversial when he noted online that the Predalien design in AVP2 was virtually identical to the one he created, and then he proceeded to post both of them for the fans to compare.  I’ve updated the interview a little, but here it is:

Dave Dorman Interviews Alien & Predator

Back Story: Renowned illustrator Dave Dorman, Alien and Predator are old friends, dating back more than 15 years ago to the days when Dorman was painting Alien v. Predator pieces to please the Dark Horse fans…today the threesome reunites for a pre-San Diego Comic-Con interview.

POV: We see the famed Eisner Award-winning  illustrator and two of his favorite creatures, lunching at a local White Castle.

Dave Dorman: Hi guys. Thanks for wearing pants today.

Alien & Predator (in unison): Ditto.

Dave Dorman: Let’s Q&A. How did you like being depicted as warring nemeses in your new film, Alien v. Predator?

Alien: Well, the fans have been dying to see me kick Predator’s ass in a live action piece…

Predator, interrupting: Hold on a ****in’ minute. Whose ass did they want to see getting kicked by who?

Alien, continuing: I believe the correct word is whom…but Dave, you were the first one who actually depicted us dukin’ it out more than 15 years ago in your painting for Dark Horse Presents #36. It was that first fight cover in the swamp, remember?

Predator: That’s right! You made us fly down to your Florida studio and sweat our balls off posing under all of those hot lights. In the middle of summer, no less! That was the modeling job from hell. Just for that, you’re buying lunch today. And I’ll take an extra sack of sliders for the ride home.

Dave Dorman: Nada, Rasta-boy; you can afford to pay your own way! But that particular cover has been one of the most popular from my fans–and yours. You have to admit, Predator, you seemed to enjoy posing with that hot babe on the cover I did for Alien v. Predator #4.

Predator: Nah, she didn’t do it for me. Though I did like that slinky, latex costume.

POV: We see Predator struggling to fit a milkshake straw into his etiquette-unfriendly mouth.

Dave Dorman: Havin’ some trouble, Predator? Let me help.

POV: Dorman’s hand shakes nervously as he pours the vanilla milkshake into Predator’s gaping pie hole.

Dave Dorman: Hey guys, remember when I worked on those designs for that first attempt at the Alien v. Predator movie over 12 years ago? Did I ever show you my hybrid Predalien character?

POV: We see Dorman revealing the Predalien illustration to an astounded Alien and Predator.

Predator (sniffs with disdain): That is sick and wrong…unnatural. Not to mention chromosomally impossible.

Alien (lighting a cigarette): Humans shouldn’t be playing God with the mother race.

POV: Predator slaps the cigarette out of Alien’s mouth and his long claws rake against Alien’s jaw.  A few drops of blood drip onto White Castle’s stainless steel table, hissing as they burn steaming holes through it, then the floor.

Predator: Alien! How many times do I have to tell you? There’s no smoking in California restaurants! Besides I didn’t bring my inhaler.

Alien: Thanks, pal. There goes my goddam product placement cash from the tobacco industry.

Dave Dorman: You know, Alien, I have this persistent rust stain in my toilet and I’ll bet a few drops of your blood would take it right out.

Predator: I’m bettin’ it’s not a rust stain…

Dave Dorman (indignant): Niiiiice. And to think I painted your flattering side in that jail scene for the Predator: Race War piece!

Alien: He doesn’t have a good side. He’s a ****in’ four-toothed freak!

Predator (growling): Wrap it up, Dorman. I’m not sitting much longer with this slimed up gene pool abortion.

Dave Dorman: Right. So, guys, what do you think of my WASTED LANDS series?

Alien: I got your RAIL graphic novel, which definitely had some slick Schuiten and European influences, but my agent’s been hanging onto my complimentary copy of THE UNINVITED. He wants some cool beach reading in case Danny Devito and Rhea Perlman ever invite him over to their private Malibu sands.

Dave Dorman (offering Alien his book): Ah, well here’s an extra copy for you.

Alien: Thanks, man.

Predator: I thought the artwork and the stories kicked ass–just like I do with Alien on a regular basis–HAH!–however, I noticed you didn’t write any parts for me or Alien into your new series.

Alien: Yeah, we’re a little hurt. Remember, I helped you win that Eisner Award for your graphic story album Aliens: Tribes. Nice work with writer Steve Bissette…

Dave Dorman: I’d include you guys in a New York minute, but you have that contractual thing happenin’ with your movie studio. Since you liked the artwork, I’ll forward both of you my new book, “ROLLING THUNDER: The Art of Dave Dorman” from IDW Publishing and Desperado Publishing. It’s a career retrospective, including my pieces of you guys, plus my other licensed work and my Wasted Lands project.

Predator: Cool. Let me leave you with my home address this time so my agent doesn’t permanently borrow my copy.

Alien: What else ya’ got cookin’, paint-boy?

Dave Dorman: Promise not to get pissed?

Alien: I’m not promising anything except for some seriously stale White Castle farts in your rented van for the ride back to the studio.

Dave Dorman: Okay, let me reiterate, I would have written you in if I could…

Predator (nods, knowingly) to Alien: He’s stalling…

Dave  Dorman: Well…it’s a new Wasted Lands sci-fi action adventure novel, featuring my popular character Iguana, called…just don’t get mad, guys… “A Thousand Angry Teeth.”

Alien hisses (dripping with slime and sarcasm): Gee, I wonder who inspired that title?

Predator to Alien: Last time I checked with the dentist, you weren’t the only one with a mouthful of sharp teeth, you cocky bastard!

Alien (revealing menacing, dripping teeth, slowly rising up from his chair): That ****in’ does it!

Dave Dorman: Hey, look!!! Isn’t that Harold and Kumar at the White Castle drive thru’?!?

POV: Alien and Predator–both cursed with short attention spans–look toward the drive thru’ window, distracted just long enough for Dorman’s quick get-away. Dorman flips them some cab money as he casually exits the fine dining establishment, relishing the fact that his van will be Alien fart-free for the drive home. Approaching sirens wail, tables overturn, plate glass windows shatter and fry jockeys quiver beneath the stainless steel counter at the White Castle as Alien and Predator stage their own private, kick-ass sequel. Were it not for the 20th Century Fox-licensed monsters, it would definitely resemble a scene from Dorman’s action-packed sci-fi series, The Wasted Lands. Don’t believe it? See for yourself:

http://www.wastedlands.com.

Lucille Ball’s Heir Apparent Botches Jan Gabriel’s Ashes

In Entertainment on June 19, 2010 at 7:19 am

There are some people in your life for whom you will drop EVERYTHING to be available to them. Jan Gabriel is one of those special people to me. Many of you will remember him as the reverberating motorsports voice over guy with his iconic “Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!” mantra. Everyone from Al Roker (weekly, it seems) to Jay Leno borrows Jan’s famous phrase.

To me, Jan was a second dad, career mentor and best of all, my partner in crime. God, did we ever make each other laugh over the years.   We would just feed off of each other with our quick minds and our out-there humor. Little did I know, our last act of hijinks together would involve me…and Jan’s ashes.

Jan passed away this last January from complications with Polycystic Kidney Disease and Peripheral Artery Disease.  He wanted a cremation, and Jan–who ensured his trademark brand remained intact by expiring at 11:57 p.m. on a Sundayalways got his way…in life and in death.

Very last minute on this past Tuesday morning, Jan’s widow Teresa asked me to accept Jan’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Illinois Broadcasting Association on Wednesday night in Normal, IL. I don’t exactly have a love affair with public speaking, but I felt Jan was pulling my strings from the other side.  I called Jan’s and my mutual friend Nan, who used to star on Jan’s Chicago variety show, Up Tempo, back in the 1960s on WCIU/Channel 26. Miraculously, she was able to join us, despite a busy family life and running a wildly successful business.  Her calming presence kept me grounded. Nan is also great eye candy and she really looks the part of someone who belongs in Jan’s entourage.  She’s a tall, blonde Amazon woman with a figure like a sideways stick of gum with giant beach ball hooters. Jan would have been so proud to have her representing him that night.

Yet another miracle occurred. We walked into the ballroom at the Marriott and couldn’t believe our eyes. The entire event had a motorsports theme! Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s gleaming car sat in the front of the Marriott ballroom. Racing flags were the centerpieces on a hundred tables, as far as the eye could see. Then our IBA contact Debra walked up. She was the person responsible for making the last-minute decision about Jan receiving the award. She told us she had been considering it for a long while, and then she went to rent a car last weekend. The guy behind the counter told her she needed to return the car on “Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!” In that moment, her mind was made up.

It wasn’t until I sat down at our table, directly in front of the stage, that I was able to jot down some bullet points for Jan’s acceptance speech. As I do with most creative tasks, I have to marinade the ideas for a while in that scary cauldron between my ears. I commit nothing to paper until I’m at the 11th hour, buzzing from my deadline adrenaline rush.  This trait of mine makes my orderly BFF Christina Bouvier completely crazy.

With me on this mission were some of Jan’s ashes, in a small Cloissonne’ vial, about the size and shape of a pepper shaker.  I guarded it carefully–I would never live it down if Jan Gabriel became the dark specks on someone’s mashed potatoes at this dinner. As I sat there growing more and more nervous, Miss Illinois gave a wonderful speech, a two-star general from the National Guard spoke, Jeb Bush delivered a few quips, and then I was up.  This is what I told the room full of executives from every Illinois  TV and radio station:

“Jan would have loved this party, with its motorsports theme. You have no idea. Jan interviewed Dale Earnhardt Sr. for our motorsports series, The Super Chargers back in the  early ’90s when NASCAR wasn’t on anyone’s radar, and Jan was on the announcing team at the Indy 500 for many years in the ’70s. Jan loved motorsports. So I brought him with me tonight.

At this point, I pulled out the vial and set it before me on the podium. It made a loud THUNK! sound. I’m fairly sure, I felt the room did a giant inhale before some nervous laughter ensued. Jan would have eaten this up with a spoon! He lived for dramatic moments. “Here he is!” I declared gleefully.

My voice quivered as I struggled not to cry. I missed him so damned much. I proceeded to share with the crowd that Jan was the American Dream personified–this bigger-than-life character who lived within the wonderful reality he created for himself. He wanted a TV show that was a mash-up of entertainment and motorsports, so he just started one.  He had no money and he had no Hollywood connections.  It was the sheer forcefulness of his personality that made things happen. He created his own opportunities. And only Jan Gabriel could convince Elke Sommer to drive a monster truck on TV.  Those were crazy times.

After a few more anecdotes about Jan’s career and the Team Demo Association he founded, I ended the speech by thanking everyone, and reminding people that Jan would have wanted me to remind them to sign up to become organ donors. Jan had waited for five long years and finally died before getting his second transplant.

I took the award, shook hands with the presenter and returned to sit down at my table. That’s when the moment arrived that would have made Jan apoplectic with laughter.

The presenter paused and said, “Uh…Denise…you forgot Jan.” Horrified, I looked up, and there was Jan’s little Cloissonne’ vial, sparkling in the stage lights, still sitting on the podium. I clambered back up there and awkwardly murmured something  into the microphone about Jan not wanting to leave the party so early, but the crowd was laughing so hard, I doubt they even heard me.

My hubby Dave will never let me live this one down. He already saw me as Lucille Ball’s heir apparent with my penchant for inadvertent gaffes. In his eyes, this sealed my legacy. But I maintain that in this particular case, I wasn’t a solo act. Jan Gabriel orchestrated the whole thing.

Our New Podcast: Wednesday is Comic Book Day!

In Entertainment, LinkedIn, WriteBrain Media on March 26, 2010 at 8:04 pm

Hi Everyone,

Exciting news! My mother’s worst fear has come to light:  Me with a Microphone.  Actually, our new podcast will star Dave Dorman with me as co-host, but we all know who, of the two of us, manages to cram in the most W.P.M.  I used to think “motormouth” was a lingering moniker from my previous career as a TV writer/producer in  motorsports, but I’m realizing it’s not…so much.

The new Dave & Denise Dorman podcast is called “Wednesday is Comic Book Day” through Farpoint Media, owned by friend and client (and former Babylon 5 actor/producer) Jeffrey Willerth. We are relying on the help of producers Michael Mennenga and Denise Gideon to make the production levels ear-worthy. The content of the show will be a fun mash-up of interviews with our wacky cast of pop culture characters, comic book industry writers, publishers, artists, inkers, letterers, pencillers, colorists, retailers, indie guys and the occasional sidebar of something quirky that interests Dave, whether it’s surfing, technology or the latest episode of  TV’s “LOST.”

The podcast will be available via iTunes initially and we will post it here and on Dave’s blog, both of our Twitter accounts, FaceBook & LinkedIn accounts when it’s up.  Hopefully we catch your attention in one of those spaces.

Additionally, I’m so proud of Dave and his friends for their new scholarship offering. They are doing a great thing for some deserving young artist. Their COMIX ACADEMY is offering a full scholarship for their intensive, 6-day course, held in San Diego just prior to San Diego Comic-Con. The purpose of this course is to bring illustrators up to the level of a professional comic book artist, and then introduce them to pro comic book editors and help them get their careers started. As Dave always says, “If only I had this sort of opportunity when I was starting out…”

This weekend Dave will be doing sketches, remarques & signing autographs at the Planet Comic-Con event in Kansas City. I was slated to attend with him, but alas, my videogame project is in its final production throes and I needed to be on site to put those loose ends to bed. I wish I could be there, as it’s a heavy Star Wars-centric show. Dave will be doing a Star Wars panel on  Saturday afternoon; I will pay some lucky prankster $5 to stand up and ask him what Bantha and Ton Ton poo poo smells like…

I’m also finalizing an article for HD Roadie that I think you’ll all find pretty interesting.  I will be sure to post links when the production magazine picks it up.

This has been a great week for reconnecting with old friends, like Mark Voss over at Post Maridian in Chicagoland, a post production house I’ve worked with many times. He’s a terrific, funny and brilliant guy and we’re developing a creative collaboration outside of our everyday corporate work. As I know more, I’ll post more.  My guess? Horror related.

Many thanks to your eyeballs for their time & attention,

Denise

OLD NAVY ADS = BIG BOWL OF OBTUSE

In WriteBrain Media on March 11, 2010 at 6:28 am

Over the holidays, I got a huge kick out of Old Navy’s talking mannequin TV ads. The new ads? Not so much. I get it that they’re doing some sort of vote-me-off-the-island throwback, but it just doesn’t work. If you can explain them to me, go for it! There’s live action, there’s mannequins and I’m just left confused by this big bowl of weird.

I’m one of those freaks who actually LIKES to watch live television and see the ads. I get anxious when my hubby fast-forwards past the ads on our DVR’d programs. I know and appreciate the hundreds of thousands of dollars, attention to detail and hard-fought creative that went into all of those ads. When they work, they’re magic. I could watch them again and again. Remember the liquor ad two years ago with the guy buzzing around in his fly costume, having pillow fights with hot babes, terminated all too soon by his short life span? I really MISS that ad. They chose the perfect music bed. Everything worked. Magic.

Another puzzlement? Why does Burger King continue investing in a series of ads with that creepy masked king? I have asked at least 50 people of all ages, sexes, religions and ethnicities–they all find the campaign creepy and bewildering. He would have made a great Pennywise the Clown in Stephen King’s “It,” but I can’t believe that campaign actually sells burgers.

As your humble pop culture correspondent, it’s my solemn duty to offer up these analyses based on my years of consumerism and couch potato’d-ness. Feel free to share yours with me – I look forward to your feedback, and dare I hope?, your interpretation of those Old Navy ads.

Denise,
Your Humble Pop Culture Correspondent