Facebook Post: 2022-10-31T06:47:20

Tonight on Dimestore Radio Theater: We’re all putting on costumes, grabbing some scripts, and performing, The Adventures of Marcus Little: Tall Tales & Small Rewards,” a supernatural radio noir.

Featuring Little Fyodor (David Lichtenverg) and Negativland’s The Weatherman, this story features ghosts, ghouls, a talking ape… and more detectives than you can shake a stick at. It’s the kind of story that is perfect for late night radio… and on a night like this, the ghostly twist is too perfect.

With other music, comedy and radio personalties filling out the other roles, original music and commercials, and a whole lot of heart, this show is the complete package. It’s been featured in the film work of Matt Orefice of Pecho Grande films, has been heard as a podcast in 2020, and has been syndicated on six different stations all over the US. Now, in a slightly different mix and presentation special for WFMU, you can get the full story yourself, tonight!

Tune in, at 6 PM PST / 9 PM EST, and hear the kinds of things that happen in the latest parts of the night.

Join us in the live chat! We’ve dimmed the lights, and put up the Venetian blinds.

https://wfmu.org/playlists/shows/120327

Facebook Post: 2022-10-30T20:20:33

Dealing with a “responsible anarchist” experimental musician all up in my DMs, trying to tell me I’m a fool for believing in science and thinking vaccines are helpful. He’s suspicious of science and government, says there’s no actual evidence that Covid is as bad as anyone says, and in spite of not being vaccinated, goes to work, plays shows, doesn’t mask… and then goes to bars afterwards for fun.

I’m dumbfounded, astonished… horrified, and… unfortunately… not surprised.

This keeps happening. People I’ve worked with, creatively, suddenly come out anti-vax. How am I such a bad judge of character? How do I keep getting conned?

Why am I so gullible?

Facebook Post: 2022-10-29T17:40:44

I ordered this beautiful 10” record a while back, on the grounds that I saw one Witch Breath show pre-pandemic, and remembered it being pretty excellent. The price was right, so why not?

However, that did not prepare me for how epic and wonderful this little bad-boy is. There’s so much packed into this record that I am so happy I bought it, and immediately downloaded the other two tracks that are online. There needs to be more music like this, especially in this area, and bands like this should be playing and selling records everywhere. This is a great package, designed in a well-thought out manner that rewards having in a physical format. This was released in an extremely limited run, and I think there’s a couple left last I checked… unless I buy another one.

https://jamesmckeown.bandcamp.com/album/baphometic-prophecies-e-p

Facebook Post: 2022-10-28T07:30:38

Paying Higher Prices:

The pre-production costs for an independent artist – before we can even say we want to make a record – are much higher than a bigger artist, too. (Again, for many of the same reasons.) Larger bands who can afford to charge less for their albums, also have more resources to draw on during the process of making new music. Writing songs takes time, recording them costs money, and without a support network, indie artists are doing EVERYTHING needed to write / record / produce that album. So before we’re pulling out our wallets to buy the seven inch, we’re already paying for a lot of other things before we even try to make that record.



Example: Recording music costs money. With a larger, established artist, they can draw on resources that the indie artist does not have, getting access to studios where an indie artist would home record, or having an opportunity to hire an engineer, where the indie artist would probably engineer the recordings themselves.

While I don’t think it is true that larger artists have more money themselves. But having access to more resources allows you to produce something that not having that access… does not. 



And it would be silly to suggest that an indie artist is making less interesting art than a larger artist. But the larger artist has a competitive edge – financially – that the indie artist doesn’t have. 



To cover the difference, indie artists need more patrons, willing to help shoulder those costs so those indie artists can keep the dream alive.

Facebook Post: 2022-10-28T06:42:42

Pressing Records.

As a fan and nerd, it was only a matter of time before I started researching the idea of pressing a record, and what kinds of costs would be involved. Not to make any money, but to make a piece of art that I’m proud of. But also: to have something for sale that I made. 



The numbers are, predictably, grim. On average, I found that the base cost to press 100 Seven Inch records is around $1500. (Give or take, depending on the service.) With shipping, mastering, producing covers and inserts, and other costs that will come up in the production process – not to mention that the wait time can be up to two years – and to get 100 records pressed, you’re paying about $20 per disc to get it to your house. That does not include the cost of shipping it out to someone, or any additional costs that you have to eat to get the disc to people, like driving around to find the local record store that might carry it.

The way this is affordable for an artist is by ordering larger quantities. If you order 200, 300, 500 or 1000 discs, the price drops quite a bit. Over 1000 seems to be where the price breaks significantly, and must be what the “average” label or artist must do, to get that cost down to “Seven Inch” prices that I see at shows and in stores. Even brand new Seven Inches are probably selling between $8 – $10, meaning that the artist had to pay a cost of no more that $4 per disc… probably much less to make it really worth it. 



I looked into places that offer “smaller” quantities, too. I’ve used lathe cutting services, and almost all the ones I’ve seen online scale up to about the cost that the larger-run services charge in terms of dollars per disc. The primary benefit you get with some of these lathe cutting services is that product can look very beautiful, compared to some of the “simple” services you get from a larger-run company. However, there’s a few other downsides to using these lathe services, mostly that lathes are often in mono, and sometimes the production time isn’t any better than the larger companies. (Though with lathe-cut services, you often don’t have to pay for a mastering cost.) 



So here’s my larger point: THE primary benefit an artist has when they are a little larger, a little more established, and have a little more capital at their disposal, is that they can make their artwork cheaper for fans to purchase, because they can draw on larger funds during the production period. Smaller artists, who want to compete by releasing their work on a record too, cannot possibly make their albums as cheap as a larger artist, without taking a massive loss in production costs.

Example: if the average cost of a new vinyl record is $20 in stores for large artists, I have to keep my records at around that same cost, OR I have to make my record have a lot of extraneous bonus inserts, so when I charge a higher price, it makes it seem as if the final product is more than just a “record.”

Conclusion: Unless an artist has access to incredible resources anyway – in which case, they don’t really need our money – the cost of a truly independent artist’s album should be very high. And we, as fans, should support those artists because we love them. And the first step toward that is to embrace the idea that musical art by independent artists is worth a LOT more than we usually pay.

Facebook Post: 2022-10-27T18:58:37

I received a very nice care package from Sweatband Records again, at least the third such. I had requested the neon green Human Fluid Rot LP a while back, not expecting it to arrive with any alacrity, because: Pandemic. However, I discovered that I not only received that already classic slab of wax by one of the most dynamic (and funny) performers I’ve seen live, but their shipping department threw in a bunch of other stuff, too, hoping to tide this hungry DJ over through the winter.

There’s the queer hip-hop album by Duke Stamina, the third album in a trilogy by departed artist Dameon Thompson (Anemometer), the INCREDIBLE new Cancer Christ single (a band that has actually managed to get Christians to speak passionately against them), and The Joe Blows 7”, which is the garage-punk horror rock single that you need in your life. This was probably more excellent music than one man deserves, and has kicked off an excellent night of record listening.

All that was missing was the new Deaf Club single, but Sweatband has been kind enough to send me a couple Deaf Club tapes already, and they did throw in the first Manx album on CD, which I did not have. In fact, I bet there’s more in the archive that I haven’t yet heard. They usually overfill my packages.

Sweatband Records is one of the more innovative and excellent labels out there right now, releasing some incredibly unique and wonderful material. (And I’m not just saying that, because they released a tape by my Horror-Noise combo, IVO, which you can still get from all good music outlets.) As you can see, their records look and sound beautiful, and their artists represent people that you don’t usually see or hear much of in experimental music, and they are dedicated to artist vision in a way that I adore.

We’re collaborating on a follow-up release for IVO, but until that is ready, I recommend you check out their stuff. I’m consistently impressed by the Sweatband work ethic and catalog, and it really feels like something to aspire to, in terms of quality and diversity.

If nothing else, you need to check out the Chefsac release. I did a remix for that one, too.

Facebook Post: 2022-10-25T15:04:09

The Spooky Season is nearing an end, which means there’s precious little Halloween Mid-Valley Mutations left, too. But if you listen to Sheena’s Jungle Room on WFMU!, you can hear two hours of ghost and supernatural / unexplained stories, including a new one from Arvo Zylo, some stuff read by Obadiah Baird, and some calls from Miss Rikki herself! If we can get anyone in the chat who wants to call LIVE, we’ll figure out a way to make it work, too.

Getting together in the chat while I listen to the radio is really the only social time I get anymore, so please, joins us! This show promises to be very, very spooky, and the perfect cap to our four Halloween programs this year. Tune in, and enjoy!

https://wfmu.org/playlists/shows/120422

#GhostStories #InTheLibrary #ClosingOutTheSeason #JOINUS

Facebook Post: 2022-10-24T15:01:35

Tonight! Dimestore Radio Theater presents: “The Call if Cthulhu,” a feature-length story on our program! This dramatic reading has music and sound to create the illusion this is an “audio book” recording that would be contemporary with when the story was written. Live, interactive chat will be happening at Sheena’s Jungle Room on WFMU! You don’t want to miss out on this Halloween fun!

https://wfmu.org/playlists/shows/120326

Facebook Post: 2022-10-22T16:04:15

I often have the pleasure of getting nice stuff in the mail from various artists that I know, and in this case, I actually scored in a big way. Arvo Zylo sent me a beautiful vinyl record with a magnificent cover, a very cool art print, 19 CDs, and two DVDs, all of various records they’ve released. (Which very well might fill out my No part of it collection.) Arvo and I have collaborated a fair amount over the years, and they were key in releasing a comp with one of my songs on it, and made it available during my first tour. (Blood Rhythms also played a show with me on that tour, too.)

So THANK YOU! It’ll take a while to get through all of this… to my own delight.

Facebook Post: 2022-10-19T21:44:40

I had no idea, but in the late 90’s, AMC produced four seasons of a comedic drama set during the Golden Age of Radio, where they deliver stories about the characters on the shows AND the performers portraying the characters. The station and the shows they portray are fictional. AND: most of the writing for this show was done by Rupert Holmes. Yes, THAT Rupert Holmes. (The Escape Song.)

I’m dumbfounded and confused… and it’s free on Plex, so I think I’ll be watching this for the rest of my life.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115333/

Facebook Post: 2022-10-18T15:43:30

At 6 PM PST, 9 PM EST: It’s more Ghost Stories, with our good friend, Wendella Mermelstein (Heather Zajkowski) helping take calls! If you go to the playlist linked below, you’ve find a secure call, where you can join the show LIVE, and tell your ghost story to the listeners of WFMU. We’ll be taking calls for two hours (at least), and we would prefer to have your LIVE story, rather than some recordings. (But we have some of those, too, from Spook-tacular’s past.) This is to help out with the Sheena’s Jungle Room on WFMU! Hellraiser, where they are trying to raise money this October. Call in, make a pledge, enjoy a scary, REAL LIVE STORY, and have some radio fun, tonight, on Mid-Valley Mutations.

https://wfmu.org/playlists/shows/120421

#GhostStories #Hellraiser2022 #SheenasJungleRoom #MidValleyMutations #CALLNOW #Live #WFMU

Facebook Post: 2022-10-17T07:32:12

Today, on Dimestore Radio Theater! Four more Halloween tales, perfect for getting you in the spirit of the season! Plus: Part Three of our biography of Edgar Allen Poe! Come for the “Frankenstein!” Stay for, “The Other Side of The Stars!” It’s the Halloween Creepies like you’ve never heard it before! And it’s only on Sheena’s Jungle Room on WFMU! 6 PM PST / 9 PM EST. It’s one of our #Hellraiser2022 shows, which are always fun. Join us in the live, interactive chat! Tons of fun. See you then!

https://wfmu.org/playlists/shows/120325

#TheWeirdCircle #ThePriceofFear #DimestoreRevelations #TheTragicLifeofEdgarAllenPoe #FrontPageDrama #QuietPlease #SheenasJungleRoom #DimestoreRadioTheater

Facebook Post: 2022-10-16T18:27:37

Decided to do a little trimming. Before and after. The devil lock is looking pretty good, but tucks away nicely for work and other official duties. I’m quite happy with it, and only had to ask Marla to clean up one section that’s I cannot see with my eyes. So it goes.

I think one of the skills that I developed during the pandemic that I appreciate the most is learning to cut my own hair. I miss meeting up with all my haircutting friends, and getting a chance to see them / catch up. But I started to find, just before the pandemic set in, that it was harder and harder to get our schedules to line up. In a way, the need to either get right with long, flowing hair, or learn to cut it, was more utilitarian than anything.

One upshot of doing my own hair is that I can finally get this devil lock going, something I’ve always wanted and never knew to articulate to anyone who would cut my hair. I would, occasionally, say stuff like, “Hey, I don’t need to have a 9-to-5. You can go nuts with my hair.” But I could never really articulate it more than that, and inevitably, I would get a fun but sensible ‘do that was multi-functional and easy to manage.

But the part of me that was very excited about the Misfits when I first lived on my own never knew that what I really wanted was a devil lock haircut that I could tuck to the side for work. And, because my hair is so thick, if I don’t use any Murray’s or other product, I get a crazy huge poof of hair that I can comb to one side and pull of a cool, asymetrical skater style. Win-win.

I’m still terrible with my hair, and very overly anxious about it looking terrible, for dumb reasons. But I can sort of make it look okay, I guess?

Whatever. I like this one. For now, anyway.

Facebook Post: 2022-10-13T22:22:34

Can you take a piece of art that someone else made, transform it creatively, and call the new transformed piece “art”? We’ve been culturally having this debate for decades, with no definitive answer. Looks like the Supreme Court might answer this for us, finally. Given their recent track record, we should all be panicking. I only make work that is transformed in some way. Will I have to quit making art in the US?
https://www.marketplace.org/2022/10/07/when-is-fair-use-fair-in-warhol-copyright-case-supreme-court-could-offer-new-answers/amp/

Facebook Post: 2022-10-13T06:55:50

They give the medals out to anyone this year, so long as you cross the finish line. And they want to charge you a bunch for this image they took of Marla and I walking across the last section of the bridge. But a quick screenshot is enough for me, as Marla and I have now made this journey together twice (with her friend Chelsey, too). So, maybe we do deserve a medal? I don’t think I’ve won a medal before. So… that’s pretty cool.

I should walk more.

Facebook Post: 2022-10-12T18:14:48

The first 18-ish minutes of this podcast contains a conversation with Joe Dante and Ethan Hawke talking about their experiences making one of my favorite movies, “Explorers.” The conversation was incredible, enlightening, and brought me to tears. It made me not only want to see, “Explorers,” again, but gave me a new appreciation for how hard it is to make a movie, and how deeply we connect them them.

Ethan Hawke

Joe Dante has, a number of times, talked about how disappointed he was with making this film, which always blew me away, because not only did it impact me so much, but even as an adult, I quite enjoyed it. It seems like a complete vision, and one with an interesting message about childhood and the world around us, one that I think resonates more with kids than it does with adults.

Fairly recently, it has become more well known that everyone working on, “Explorers,” wanted to be making a different movie, and every part of the movie they actually made is a compromise, rather than what they all intended to make. So hearing a candid, but heartfelt, conversation about how even that failure left big impacts on their lives. And Ethan’s assessment of what the film is about so closely hues to my own that I was shocked that I had intuited that so well on my own.

“Explorers,” is both a movie about how disappointing growing up is, and a movie about three kids who defy everything and everyone around them and build a spaceship to meet and interact with actual intelligent life in the universe. And, when the kids meet these aliens… it is massively disappointing, in a way that sort of leads these kids away from childhood and toward adulthood. That kind of deflation is what “growing up” is all about. Who can you tell about your experience meeting these aliens, without letting out how unimpressed you were with their stand-up?

I’m such a fan of this movie that I don’t really know anything about the rest of Ethan Hawke’s career, someone who seems a lot more interesting than I realized. And, while he’s perhaps a half-generation older than me, it sounds like we have a lot of the same reference points, which also tracks. (I seem to like all my old-timey bullshit.)

Anyway, you should listen to this conversation. I love movies, I love, “Explorers,” and as Ethan talks about the movies that influenced him and his career, it feels like the kinds of nerds that I love to listen to, over and over again.

Ethan Hawke

Facebook Post: 2022-10-11T16:31:14

Tonight: are you ready to tell ghost stories? Join us, where you can call in, and tell us your story. All the information you need is below. Let’s get spooky.

https://wfmu.org/playlists/shows/120384

#GhostStories2022 #Hellraiser2022 #SheenasJungleRoom #MidValleyMutations #HalloweenSpooktacular2022 #LiveCallers
https://wfmu.org/playlists/shows/120384

Facebook Post: 2022-10-11T06:26:49

I had a glitch with the previous version of this video that was uploaded, so here it is again. This was the video I made (and was aired) as part of NorCal NoiseFest this year. An original tune by Mini-Mutations, with some video cut up, to go with it. I put a fair amount of work into this, and I think it came out okay. Hopefully it can entertain you for at least a quarter of an hour.

(Special thanks to Andrew, for managing the webstream and making sure all the visuals were looking GREAT, and to Lob, for doing all the organizing. Another, shorter video also made it into the show, as well as all the zer0-G Mice videos, but that’s for another day.)

Facebook Post: 2022-10-10T12:45:47

Today, on Dimestore Radio Theater and Sheena’s Jungle Room! It’s a cavalcade of ghastly tales and other eerie stories, with “Dr. Jeckll & Mr. Hyde,” kicking things off, and closing with another incredible episode of Wyllis Cooper’s, “Quiet, Please.” It’s Halloween Old Time Radio, to help ease you into the holiday season. Join us for the live, interactive chat, where you can follow along in real time, with the rest of us. See you… on the airwaves!

https://wfmu.org/playlists/shows/120322

#TheWeirdCircle #ThePriceofFear #FrontPageDrama #QuietPlease
#HalloweenSpookTacular2022 #SheenasJungleRoom #DimestoreRadioTheater

Facebook Post: 2022-10-10T04:17:50

I’m flummoxed. I do not know how to proceed regarding the world at large. There is still a massive health risk to me and Marla out there, and we are seeing a lot of people we know get really sick. At least one person I know has passed. But there’s a lot of people who don’t see the health risk anymore, and have returned to life as it once was.

Meanwhile, there is so much happening that I long to do, and is still a huge risk. And I have to watch as people I love do a lot of fun things, and then watch further as they get sick over and over again.

How to proceed? What to do? How do I stop from going crazy?

Why do people insist it’s over, when it isn’t?

Facebook Post: 2022-10-09T18:59:19

Marla found some streaming channel that just plays Star Trek over and over again. All TNG, all the time. It’s brilliant, and I’m completely hooked. I spent so much time as a youth watching Star Trek. There’s very few I haven’t seen, but certainly there’s a few here and there.

However much I love it, with a more critical modern eye, I’m astonished at how much adulation for military procedure and lifestyle is baked into the show. My memories of Star Trek almost all involve the science fiction premises of the show. But in the 90’s, with the effects and budget they had, leaning into the military life of a crew on a ship allowed the show to have a lot of stories that felt “real,” while leaving the sci-fi stuff in the show to be window-dressing.

In a way, there’s a sort of bootlicker element to the show that seems… worth being wary of.

I still think Data and Geordi are my favorite TV couple, though.