July 2011

Attending the final Friends of Old Time Radio Convention

I will be attending the 36th and final Friends of Old Time Radio Convention being held at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, 160 Frontage Road in Newark, NJ from October 20-23, 2011. It will be the last hurray for the group that started it all: conventions dedicated to celebrating Old Time Radio. It will be great fun and also bittersweet. More info is available at: http://www.lofcom.com/nostalgia/fotr/update11.php3

MJK to edit Norman Corwin’s next book

BearManor Media has inked a deal with Norman Corwin for his next book: Latest Corwin. The volume will contain thirteen never-before published radio plays ranging from his final effort for CBS, “Citizen of the World” in 1949, up to and including his most recent radio play for National Public Radio: “Memos to a New Millennium.” Each play will be followed by new notes from the author.

The deal, which hopes to be the first in a series of new books by Norman Corwin, seeks to bring the words and wisdom of the poet laureate of radio back into the forefront.

Says BearManor Media’s Ben Ohmart, “Like everyone who loves radio, I’ve been a fan of Corwin’s for as long as I can remember. He is the reigning and only King of dramatic radio, and it’s an honor to have him in my catalog.”

The book will be edited by Michael James Kacey and should be available in early 2012.

DUTY OF THE ARTIST

A sense of duty runs through our society. What it means to me may not be what it means to you. But what does it mean for the artist? If you are given a gift that makes you an artist, do you have an obligation to share it?

To be sure, technical skills are valued and rewarded with good paying jobs and paid vacations. But artistic jobs are harder to find. Granted, if you land one of them you can certainly be well-compensated for your talents. It seems that art is little valued in our faced-paced electronic world. Of course, technical skills and mechanical skills create products and services that put food on our table and feed our bodies. Art, on the other hand, is mainly about feeding our souls. Prioritizing them is therefore quite easy. Ya gotta eat, folks!

But can a society be well adjusted by only feeding the body? I don’t think so. A well adjusted society must include the arts. We are unique creatures, we humans, in that we draw (and share) inspiration and create beauty with our own hands and minds. Not everyone can create it on a scale that transcends mediocrity. Most probably cannot. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t! I believe that more people have artistic gifts than we imagine. I think we reject these gifts, sublimating them in order to please our families by getting a “good” job and putting food on the table. I personally believe you can do both. I have.

Art for profit and fun! Have many of us artists are made to feel like complete and abject failures if we do not get rich from our talents? Sure, we want to achieve the money and freedom that goes with commercial success, but that cannot be allowed to define who we are and how we go about sharing our creativity. In short, the artist must have fun! At least some fun… How else can you drag yourself away from making money to pay the bills and take another stab at creating and then sharing your art? When we lose the joy of art we deny part of ourselves; a vital part that makes up who we really are. That’s why I always tell creative people to make sure that the person they marry shares their dream instead of indulging it. If I couldn’t continue to create, I would become a far different person; a very different person than the one my wife fell in love with many years ago.

Now, about the duty of an artist: you and I have an obligation to continue to explore our world through art, either by observing or creating AND to encourage everyone else to do the same! Even if someone protests that they are not an artist, nor do they “get” art. Plant the seed for them encouraging them to give their creative side a chance to breathe.

Who knows what they result may be? The world may get another Picasso or Michelangelo. Of course, the result might be another Tiny Tim… or Tom Arnold…

But I still think it’s worth the risk.

I’m just saying…

Directing “My Client Curley” at SPERDVAC in November 2011

I have

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been asked to direct the delightful Norman Corwin show “My Client Curley” for the SPERDVAC Luncheon on Saturday, November 5, 2011, to be held at the Beverly Garland Hotel in North Hollywood, CA. Tommy Cook (who guest starred in the original broadcast) will play the lead role of the Agent. Other recreations will include “Sorry, Wrong Number” and “My Favorite Husband” directed by Gregg Oppenheimer and “The Six Shooter” directed by Tim Knofler. It will be great event, I’m sure.

IF A BLOGGER BLOGS IN THE FOREST AND NO ONE HEARS THE KEYSTROKES, IS HE REALLY A BLOGGER?

If you are reading this, then I am a blogger. If I am only typing this, I am merely practicing to be a blogger…

One of the best things about having a blog is the ability to write what you want and post it to be seen by a worldwide audience. There’s a great power using the Internet and, I hope, some reward for the effort. Since I am not a subject matter expert on much, I rely on writing about what I’m thinking about or ideas that I’d like to share. I feel I have a responsibly to be honest with my opinions and respectful of your time. This means that I never write something that is an ego-bloated fantasy about who I think I am (or who I want you to think I am). Instead, I strive for simplicity and truth.

The other thing I enjoy about blogging is that it forces me to write. I love to write when the spirit moves me, but it seldom does in a spontaneous fashion. Instead, I have to sit myself down and compel myself to write something – anything. In my first year of blogging I completed slightly more than one blog per month for a total of 15. So I decided that I would work to hit that number every year. It doesn’t sound like much, but when life happens and excuses pile up it becomes very easy to work on other things. Sometimes I will do anything to avoid writing. I mean even pay bills and paint the house! Yet here I sit typing away in spite of my overwhelming desire to watch “Around the Horn” on ESPN.

However, the thought recently occurred to me that if I skip my favorite TV show to write this and there is no one who reads it, why am I doing this? As I previously said, I’m not a subject matter on anything that I know of and I refuse to pretend I’m so important that the you must adore the snappy prose I wring from the synapses of my teeming intellect. So that leaves me wondering, if a blogger blogs in the forest but no one hears the keystrokes, is he really a blogger?

I understand (and support) the concept that a person doesn’t have to have a

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painting hung in a gallery to be a painter or doesn’t have to have a Grammy to be a singer, but what if no one reads what a writer writes? (Insert long, thoughtful and tortured pause before writing the next sentence…) I guess it still holds (… I finally write). The mere act of creativity is a means unto itself. I think a writer can find catharsis writing words even if they may be little read.

And so, with much ado about nothing, I bring this blog to a conclusion. I have forced myself to write. I have written about something that’s currently on my mind with conviction of being honest. You can’t ask much more than that, can you?

Unless, perhaps, I crafted some timely humor at the conclusion of this piece to serve as a kind of reward, both for you, the reader, and me, the writer. Instead, permit me to quote my favorite line from the movie This Is Spinal Tap:

“There’s such a fine line between clever and… stupid.”

So I’m quitting while I’m ahead.

I’m just saying . . .